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New administration policy bans freshmen from taking Honors Advanced Algebra

Discouraging students from taking private and online courses, the administration has launched a new policy this year to forbid any freshman from taking honors math courses.

As of the 2022-2023 school year, freshmen are no longer allowed to take Honors Advanced Algebra due to the administration’s new policy designed to ensure equal opportunity for all students. After honors geometry stopped being an option for students a few years ago, the only option freshmen had for a more challenging class was taking an online course such as Geometry to get ahead. Others also took online Advanced Algebra after freshman year to get into Honors Precalculus sophomore year.

The reasoning behind this new policy, according to Principal Barnaby Payne, is that his administration, the math department, and Tam District take into account that the Universities of California (UC) do not weigh Honors Advanced Algebra. 

“UC is the gold standard. If a student is UC qualified in California, safe to say, they’re qualified for most universities in the United States and in the world,” Payne said.

Many private universities like the Ivys weigh honors advanced algebra and take freshman year into consideration when kids apply to their programs. However, Payne believes that the administration has considered that fact as well. 

“Some private schools [weigh Honors Advanced Algebra], and that’s fine, but we’re a public school, accredited by the UCs, so we really try to stay aligned with them,” Payne said.

One of the freshmen who was blocked from joining Honors Advanced Algebra, Kazimier Rubel, offers a different point of view.

Studying for his Advanced Algebra class, freshman Kazimier Rubel was unable to take an honors math course in his freshman year. (Photo courtesy of Kazimier Rubel)

“I want to be as academically rigorous as possible because it’s more challenging and it gives you a better sense of certain subjects, making future classes easier to grasp. I don’t think there are any honors or AP classes you can take as a freshman and I believe there are only two you can take as a sophomore,” Rubel said.

The District believes that preventing freshmen from taking Honors Advanced Algebra ensures that everyone has the same opportunities going into Sophomore which will level the playing field regarding academic level and rigor.

“We’re trying to dispel the notion that kids have to use summer math classes privately, online, in order to get ahead at Redwood,” Payne said.

Oliver Weston, a sophomore currently enrolled in Honors Precalculus, gained a head start at Ross Middle School where he tested into the school’s geometry class (Ross Middle School no longer offers this class in their curriculum).

“I didn’t take geometry online although a lot of people did, my [middle] school had that. Parents at Ross wanted to have geometry as an option [for their kids],” Weston said. “There definitely are honors classes, but you have to be older to access them. I wish there were more chances to take harder classes for underclassmen. [Freshman] year I had an easy schedule, the grade point average boost is just an added bonus.” 

Part of the reason behind Honors Advanced Algebra being blocked for freshmen but not Regular Advanced Algebra is due to the administration’s belief that students are too focused on their grades. The administration also points out the fact that students can still eventually take the most challenging math course offered at Redwood, Calculus BC.

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About the Contributor
Evan Wang
Evan Wang, Cub Reporter
Evan Wang is a sophomore at Redwood High School and is a Cub Reporter for The Redwood Bark. He enjoys spending time with family and friends and he loves traveling.