WE MUST EXPAND HIGH SCHOOL PHYSICS IN MARICOPA COUNTY:
ten reasons high school physics is in trouble in Arizona
Earl Barrett, retired high school physics teacher. EJBarrett9@gmail.com
enrollment in the U.S. and Arizona appears to be driven by the AP program.
Standard/core/regular high school physics enrollment has suffered as a result.
in the US produce 0.5 physics teachers per year -- not enough to replace the retiring
teachers. Funding is lacking to retrain our high school science staff, and it
is unreasonalbe to expect teachers to shoulder the cost.
salaries are no longer competitive with the private sector, and few districts
pay higher salaries for areas of high skill/need such as physics. This leaves
Arizona with no way of attracting physics teachers nationally. Unfortunately we
still hear the same talking point, ŇMore money canŐt solve our problems in
educationÓ, yet itŐs done in business every day and itŐs called free
leaders and politicians clamor for more STEM-trained workers but have yet to
realize that physics is STEM.
Modeling Instruction is recognized as an effective teaching strategy, training
and support from the federal government is severely lacking. It does not get
the respect it deserves at decision-making levels of education -- both locally
of the new jobs that will open in the 21st century will require skills
possessed by only 20% of the current workforce. No one has figured out that
these are the workers who have physics skills.
increase to a mandatory four years of mathematics and three years of science
for HS graduation in AZ has seen a decrease in physics enrollment,
especially in non-AP physics. Physics
teachers are in a dogfight for students with colleagues for the same student
population. Instead of being regarded as a core science course like biology and
chemistry, physics is still considered to be a class for the engineering-bound.
and parents lack an understanding of why physics education is so important in
todayŐs job market.
administrators and science staff rarely work together to develop a process that
encourages students to enroll in classes that would be most helpful to them in
a post-high school career.
school physics instruction lacks a powerful advocate, both locally and
nationally. Just who is or could
be the voice for physics education?
AZ-AAPT, AAPT, AEA, ASTA? or is it a grass roots solution that changes
updated October 2015.