Education Report Roundup

Wanted: Well-Trained Physics Teachers

February 23, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A national task force has issued a strongly worded report raising concerns about the poor state of teacher education in physics and offering ideas to improve the situation.

“Except for a handful of isolated pockets of excellence, the national system of preparing physics teachers is largely inefficient, mostly incoherent, and massively unprepared to deal with the current and future needs of the nation’s students,” the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics says in a report synopsis released last week.

Of the 23,000 teachers of high school physics, only one-third have a major in physics or physics education, notes the task force. It was formed by the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics, all of College Park, Md., with funding from the National Science Foundation.

“In many states, weak standards for certification or endorsement to teach physics hide the fact that many teachers of physics lack the content knowledge and focused pedagogical preparation necessary to provide an excellent physics education to all students,” says the task force.

The panel urges physics departments and colleges of education to recognize that they have individual and joint responsibility for the professional preparation of physics teachers at their institutions. It also calls on the NSF and the U.S. Department of Education to develop a coherent vision for discipline-specific teacher preparation and development and asks states to replace general-science teacher certification with endorsements in individual subjects.

A version of this article appeared in the February 24, 2010 edition of Education Week as Wanted: Well-Trained Physics Teachers


Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Boosting Student and Staff Mental Health: What Schools Can Do
Join this free virtual event based on recent reporting on student and staff mental health challenges and how schools have responded.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
Practical Methods for Integrating Computer Science into Core Curriculum
Dive into insights on integrating computer science into core curricula with expert tips and practical strategies to empower students at every grade level.
Content provided by

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: October 11, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 27, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 20, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education From Our Research Center What's on the Minds of Educators, in Charts
Politics, gender equity, and technology—how teachers and administrators say these issues are affecting the field.
1 min read
Stylized illustration of a pie chart
Traci Daberko for Education Week