Statements with a common theme on physics & STEM (compiled in 2015)


Physics is STEM— science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. High school physics incorporates all elements of STEM better than any other course.



Cornell University: Physics Teacher Coalition


The U.S. has a critical shortage of high school physics teachers.   

           Of all school subjects, Physics has the most severe teacher shortage, followed by math and chemistry.  There are large surpluses of biology and earth science teachers.


Too few U.S. high school students take physics, and math-challenged students need it.

           Only 1/3 of US high school students take physics. This is far less than in most countries with which we compete economically.  Many countries require all students to take physics.       

           Physics, more than any other subject in high school, teaches quantitative and analytical reasoning skills. Math is an important tool, but physics makes math “real".


Women and minorities are underrepresented in STEM fields.

           Women are underrepresented by a factor of 2. African Americans and Latinos are underrepresented by a factor of 4 or more.

Š      Physics is a prerequisite for nearly all careers in engineering, chemistry, biology, environmental and earth sciences, and the medical and veterinary sciences. Many with physics training go on to careers in finance, economics and management. These are well-paid, well-respected careers that historically have provided a upward path for the socioeconomically disadvantaged.


National Alliance of Black School Educators

Physics is a gateway course for post-secondary study in science, medicine, and engineering, as well as an essential component in the formation of students’ scientific literacy. Physics classes hone thinking skills. An understanding of physics leads to a better understanding of other science disciplines. Physics classes help polish the skills needed to score well on the SAT and ACT. College recruiters recognize the value of taking high school physics. College success for virtually all science, computing, engineering, and premedical majors depends in part on passing physics. The job market for people with skills in physics is strong. Knowledge of physics is helpful for understanding the arts, politics, history, and culture. …

All students should be afforded the opportunity to formally learn physics in their secondary school


AAPT Diversity Statement

The American Association of Physics Teachers is committed to making physics more accessible to everyone.  We support efforts to encourage greater participation from members of all under-represented groups in every part of the physics community. 



National Governors Association: Center for Best Practice

            A students ability to enter and complete a STEM postsecondary degree or credential is often jeopardized because the pupil did not take sufficiently challenging courses in high school or spend enough time practicing STEM skills in hands-on activities.

            Several states and districts are using financial incentives, support systems, professional development, and improved institutional conditions to recruit, retain, and reward high-performing math and science teachers.

            Motivating interest in math and science requires improved teaching strategies in the classroom and opportunities outside the classroom to demonstrate linkages between math and science, real-world applications, and future careers. Teachers and other school staff will need help in making students see these linkages.


From The Opportunity Equation (2007), Carnegie Corporation of New York

“When students discussed their career ambitions, many did not connect their aspirations with required high school math and science coursework, suggesting a need to help students see the relevance of upper-level math and science coursework in secondary school and beyond.”


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  publication on Stem Careers

 “Take as many rigorous classes as you can, as early as you can.” ,



Arizona Chamber of Commerce

            Improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education:

Š      Support policies to improve STEM education at all levels so that Arizona students master a baseline of knowledge that will prepare them for post-secondary education or careers that require advanced math and science skills.         

Š      Develop plans to increase the number of effective teachers and principals in high-poverty schools and hard-to-teach subjects.




[This document can be downloaded at in the section called “How to increase physics enrollment in high school”.]