Course Access

Even before the pandemic, students from low-income backgrounds and American Indian, Black, and Latinx students were less likely to be enrolled in key advanced courses such as Physics, Calculus, Computer Science, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, music, and advanced foreign languages than their not-low-income and White peers.

The reasons for this are two-fold. Students from low-income backgrounds and American Indian, Black, and Latinx students are less likely to attend schools that offer these critical courses. And even when they do attend schools that offer the classes, students from historically under-served groups are less likely to be enrolled in them.

Although New York has made some progress, the state’s path to recovery will rely upon our education systems’ ability to ensure that all students have access to high-quality academic coursework. We call on state leaders to:


  • Invest in an infrastructure that supports more access to advanced coursework.
  • Require school districts to provide every family with clear and concise information, in multiple languages, about the courses their child can take.
  • Enable automatic enrollment in the next available advanced course for students who demonstrate readiness.
  • Ensure that any school or district has an action plan to decrease disparities in advanced course enrollment.

Explore Regional Data

Across New York State, historically under-served students are less likely to be enrolled in advanced coursework. See what this disproportionality looks like in your region.

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Onondaga County

Westchester County

Photos by Allison Shelley for EDUimage

Equitable Access Now Blog Series

The New York Equity Coalition hosted discussion groups with students to hear why this equity issue is so critical. The three-part Equitable Access Now blog series shares what they had to say in their own words. 

Take Action

This legislative session, New York has the opportunity to pass S.1111A/A.4407A. This bill would improve educational equity in New York State by informing families early on about the benefits of enrolling in advanced classes and the supports available.

Take one minute to email your representatives, and urge them to make certain ALL students have access to the courses they deserve by supporting this critical bill!

Proficient and Passed Over

Even when students who are low-income; Latinx, Black, and American Indian students; current and former English Language Learners; students with disabilities; and students in temporary housing demonstrate that they are meeting the state’s academic standards by scoring “proficient” or “advanced” on their grade 7 state math assessment, they are less likely than their peers to be given the chance to take advanced math classes in grades 8 and 9.

A Statewide Challenge

School districts across New York State routinely deny historically under-served students access to the courses that will set them up for success in the future. See what the issue looks like statewide and in your region.

School Spotlights

Read how schools and districts across the state are working to ensure all students have equitable access to advanced courses.

Additional Resources

Learn more about this issue and find additional resources.