the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics
edited by David E. Meltzer, Monica Plisch, and Stamatis Vokos
Despite federal legislation mandating highly qualified teachers for every classroom, school districts confirm a considerable shortage of physics teachers year after year, greater than any other science discipline. Compounding this problem, the preparation of qualified physics teachers has failed to keep pace with a dramatic increase in the number of high-school students taking physics. The potential negative consequences of maintaining the status quo are far-reaching, both for physics as a discipline and for the U.S. economy and society as a whole.
In response to the shortage of physics teachers in the U.S. and concerns about their effectiveness, the American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, and American Institute of Physics formed the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP). T-TEP was charged with documenting the state of physics teacher preparation and with making recommendations for the development of exemplary physics teacher education programs.
Except for a few excellent programs, T-TEP found that nationally, physics teacher preparation is inefficient, incoherent, and unprepared to deal with the current and future needs of the nation's students. An innovative national program is needed to develop new resources, expertise, and capacity in order to meet current and future national needs. Toward this end, T-TEP recommends establishing regional centers in physics education. These centers would be the main regional producers of well-qualified physics teachers and would be a nexus for scholarly work on physics education. In addition, the centers would help veteran science teachers at all levels deepen their knowledge and skills.
Published December 1, 2012
Last Modified April 24, 2013
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