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Calculus once on the chopping block at Lincoln High School, expected to return in 2022

The class was canceled midway through the 2019 - 2020 academic year with students auto-enrolled in ceramics, instead.

SAN DIEGO — Editor's note: After this story aired and was posted live, a representative from the San Diego School District contacted CBS 8 and confirmed that Lincoln High School would again be offering a calculus class to students and that a letter would be sent out notifying parents of the update. 

Original Story:

Calculus may be on the chopping block, again for San Diego's Lincoln High School.

Lincoln High School administrators say they’re trying to figure out how to continue the class for the upcoming academic year 2022 – 2023.

Eight students were enrolled for the class in the fall. Unless the class is offered, they will have to enroll in something less challenging.

This comes to some parents’ and educators’ dismay, because they say Lincoln’s possible calculus students are some of the school’s best and brightest academically.

Now parents, students, and administrators are scrambling to find a place for the higher-level math class with the start of the school year just a few weeks away. Critics say the educational disinvestment continues to hurt marginalized, Black, and Brown communities

Zuri Williams says this isn't the first time calculus was considered to be cancelled at Lincoln High School.

The class was cut in the 2019 - 2020 academic year when Williams’s daughter, Zora was a senior with her eyes set on Wellesley College, one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the nation.

"She was devastated. She was crushed. She decided she was not worthy of a lot of things when things went awry with calculus,” said Williams. “She was in a lot of clubs. She was an officer in a lot of clubs and she was very much enjoying her calculus class…when two weeks before the end of the semester, her class was cancelled, and she was literally put into a ceramics class."

Williams says that devastation snatched Zora's dreams of Wellesley and killed her love of mathematics.

Williams says now that they’re trying to cancel calculus at a school where students are predominantly from Black and Brown communities again, she has questions.

"How do you have money to start classes and not to finish classes? And why are you playing with these students at such a pivotal time in their lives? Why would you even want to get good grades? Why would you try hard in math at Roosevelt Middle School, knowing if you get AP Calculus at Lincoln, it's going to get canceled,” said Williams. “Why would you even bother? What is that telling the students? What is that saying to the students? Because I'd really like to know where the hell is the money?"

Kent Hartman is a local educator and math tutor who says these students need access to calculus for college admissions.

"They're (the students) competing against a huge pool out there, and you want to have a transcript as attractive as possible," said Hartman.

The latest idea for Lincoln High School is to combine calculus and pre-calculus into one classroom with one teacher at the same time.

Hartman says that just won’t work.

"Both classes need full attention for the full duration for a normal school year, and you don't try to combine them with half the attention to each class simultaneously," said Hartman.

Hartman says the higher-level mathematics gives students a leg up when it comes to post-secondary studies in college.

"You have to have something for the top students to aim for. This is a prerequisite for physics, engineering, economics," said Hartman.

As of the posting of this story, Lincoln High School’s master schedule does not list the calculus class for its 2022 – 2023 academic year.

WATCH RELATED: Calculus once on the chopping block at Lincoln High School, expected to return in 2022 (July 2022).

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