Texas is taking significant strides toward equity and inclusion, starting with a fifth-grade math assessment. According to this piece from The Independent, a new law will automatically enroll students in advanced sixth-grade math if they score in the top 40% on fifth-grade testing. The plan is to implement this policy statewide, as only a handful of schools in Texas have adopted said policy.

For example, the Dallas school system is already taking this approach. Instead of parents signing up their child for advanced math or a teacher/counselor submitting a recommendation, that student’s test scores will do the talking. Families will have the option to opt out of the class if they choose.

Let’s face it: implicit (and explicit) bias and systemic inequality are baked into the DNA of our society. Teachers have a biased idea of what an advanced student “looks” or “acts” like, meaning brilliant students of color are often left out of the conversation.

This new law will eradicate those barriers for marginalized students. The Independent also reports that 17% of Black and one-third of Hispanic students were enrolled in advanced math before this policy. Unfortunately, that’s quite a disparity compared to half of white students.

Thankfully, those statistics have changed for the better. With this new policy, 43% of Black students are in advanced sixth-grade math. As for Hispanic students, six in 10 of them are also in that camp. Even the number of white student participants has increased, too, with a bump to 82%.

The hope is to eliminate subjectivity and ensure students from all backgrounds get a solid math education, hopefully opening doors to lucrative STEM careers. Now, all kids with strong math skills will have the opportunity to strengthen that foundation for a brighter tomorrow.

It’s no secret that math is a weakness for many American students. And with our rapidly evolving technological world, we will need more young STEM leaders as we advance into the future.

A handful of other states are starting to adopt this policy. Hopefully, this will take the national education system by storm.

This is a wonderful idea and a sign that the ongoing STEM conversation is heading in the right direction. We hope this makes it easier for brilliant young minds to receive the education and opportunities they deserve. And, as always, we at the Dottie Rose Foundation are dedicated to opening doors for our girls as they explore the possibilities a STEM career has to offer.