This paper by AIP Statistical Research Manager Susan White and myself makes the case for high school physics and calculus.
While chemistry is associated with being college ready, it takes physics to make a student STEM ready. A student who completes physics is twice as likely to complete a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field than one who takes only chemistry; taking a second course in either subject increases the likelihood of earning a STEM degree even more. This likely seems self-evident to most high school physics teachers, but it is generally not appreciated among teachers in other fields — even other science fields — and principals. In fact, staff at the American Physical Society hired a marketing firm to address the issue and The Physics Teacher has published an article about how to recruit students into physics classes.
Update (Thursday, 3:00 pm): A pdf of the article is here: