American Physical Society issues statement on physics in the K-12 schools

The American Physical Society has issued a statement calling for K-12 schools to provide high quality physics instruction for all students.  The statement received final approval from the society’s Council on November 23, and it became the first statement issued by the society on any topic since 2009.

The text of the statement:

The American Physical Society calls upon local, state and federal policy makers, educators and schools to:

  • Provide every student access to high-quality science instruction including physics and physical science concepts at all grade levels; and
  • Provide the opportunity for all students to take at least one year of high-quality high school physics.


Physics and physical science provide context for understanding critical issues facing society today. Further, physics provides a foundation for careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and many other fields. Nevertheless, physics and physical science are too often neglected in K-12 schools, in part because of severe shortages of qualified teachers.

Providing high-quality instruction in physics and physical science for every student will require a nationwide effort to:

  • Increase support for programs in which college and university physics departments partner with colleges of education and local K-12 schools to prepare highly qualified teachers of physics and physical science;
  • Provide current teachers of physics and physical science with extensive evidence-based physics-specific professional development experiences;
  • Support development and adoption of research-validated curricula, pedagogies, and assessments in physics and physical science;
  • Support efforts that improve participation and achievement in physics and physical science education for students from underrepresented groups; and
  • Provide increased resources and incentives to enhance physics and physical science teacher recruitment, retention and professional status.

APS stands ready to support this effort. APS, working with the American Association of Physics Teachers and other organizations, leads efforts to improve the education of U.S. high school physics teachers.


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