CSU Fourth Year Math Requirement for High School Students

Nadera Powell, Opinion Staff Writer


         It seems as though people who look like me from a similar background that I have just can’t catch a break. It seems as though the odds are against us, after every opportunity is a barrier. The next potential barrier for low-income, Black and Latino students, starting in the fall of 2026, will be the addition of a math requirement for all Cal State University freshman applicants. We are always trying to find holes to seep through in a system that was not meant for us to succeed in, and the next generations may have to burn the candle at both ends just to be considered to attend a Cal State.

Many students are pulling out all the stops already by taking extra classes and having to foot the bill for their education at a higher rate than their more well-off counterparts. Underprivileged kids are left with wide equity gaps when it comes to the funding of their schools and the courses available to them, and this proposal would do more harm than help. The CSU is known for being a more attainable option for students that are not high performing in high school, and the quality education at each of the 23 CSUs are seen as redemption for students.

“CSUs are below tier universities, and so they are for students who did not do well in high school, so this passing essentially goes against the point of going to a CSU” said Venice senior Thomas Koon. 

   The proposal is essentially stifling the chances for students in rural or smaller areas who don’t have access to an extra quantitative reasoning, statistics or computer science course at their perspective schools. There has also been some confusion due to the disputing clouding student’s judgments. 

Venice junior Karen Nava said,”I am graduating in the Class of 2021, and although my dream school is within the UC system, I am confused as a high schooler because the Cal State is considering requiring something that doesn’t align with LAUSD requirements.”

There needs to be an acknowledgement that if this went into effect now, even I would not be able to apply to a Cal State, and I am only a junior. Being from South Central and being apart of the body of a functioning education system that claims to want each student to have all the tools necessary to not only graduate but have a plan beyond that, I am well aware of the disparities that different people from different schools are dealt and so are they.

My mother Charline Nunez, who is also a CSU Dominguez Hills graduate said, “Kids from where I am from will have to keep acting as if they are crabs in a bucket, clawing to get out from the poverty they face everyday.” The decision-makers need to realize that they are serving students who not only may not meet the new criteria, but also may feel as though they are being overwhelmed and overworked. High schoolers in general suffer from abnormally high levels of anxiety as well, so their mental health may be impacted in a negative manner. Everything about this is intersectional. Nothing is effected independently of the other, and so students will have to take extra measures to make an adjustment.

The timeline of this proposal is as follows: in August there will be a public hearing; in September there will be a formal, detailed plan to CSU trustees and in November, an official vote will be made by the CSU board. The board set the schedule for 2026 because of the controversy surrounding the issue, and many voices (including mine) are getting louder and more unified as time comes closer for a decision to be made. A lot is riding on this vote and the parents and students of the incoming freshman class in 2026 will endure a much harder admissions process than before. So with that being said students, be prepared to force your hand a little more than the previous CSU applicants in the upcoming years if this proposal passes, and hopefully it does not for the sake of thousands of disadvantaged youth.



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