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Source: Los Angeles Times

Velasquez is among the students, parents, educators and Los Angeles school board members who are opposed to a proposal by Cal State University to require a fourth year of math, science or other quantitative high school coursework for admission, laying bare a tension between two imperatives in California education.

On the one hand, Cal State is seeking to raise standards and academic preparation for all high school students, especially in math. Yet this objective has become mired in a debate about disparities in educational access and quality that disproportionately harm high school students of color and those from low-income families in the state. Some fear that these students’ access to Cal State will diminish if the proposal is adopted.

“Black and Latinx students and low-income students can and do achieve at high levels,” said Elisha Smith Arrillaga, executive director of Education Trust-West, a nonprofit group focused on educational equity, at a recent hearing on the proposal. “But when we look at other facts, at data on access and on opportunity, it becomes clear that these students are also given barriers by our education system that limit their access to the teachers and to the courses that they need to attend college.”

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