If socioeconomics determined the rates at which high school students take physics, chemistry and calculus, then the plots shown below of enrollments rates for those subjects vs. free and reduced-price lunch eligibility rate would show clear correlations. The plots don’t show that, so there is much more going on than socioeconomics.
What’s going on is the adults – administrators, counselors, teachers, parents. If enrolling large numbers of students in physics, chemistry and calculus classes is a priority for the adults at a school, then it happens. If not, then not.
The plots show the enrollment rates for 35 large (in Northwest Florida, “large” means more than 100 12th graders) in the region from Leon County in the east out to Escambia County in the west.
The course enrollment numbers and numbers of 12th graders are taken from the Florida Department of Education web site. The FLDOE course enrollment numbers do not include dual enrollment courses. Enrollment for a course in which a school has fewer than 10 students is zeroed out in the FLDOE spreadsheets, so they are set to zero for the purposes of these plots.