At yesterday’s press conference on Project Lead the Way’s new push with the Orange County Public Schools, PLTW CEO Vince Bertram said, “When students start to take our courses, we see them taking more advanced courses in math and science,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. Fifty-five public high schools in Florida offer PLTW engineering courses, but at least some of the students from those programs leave high school without taking physics or calculus, two courses that are generally considered important in preparing for college majors in engineering.
The National Society of Black Physicists recently tweeted at PLTW that the organization should be asking all of its students to take physics in 9th grade, a scheme often called Physics First.
PLTW’s web site does not include any mention that its students – in the engineering program or otherwise – should take physics and calculus in high school. However, some PLTW schools like Orlando’s Freedom High School, say so on their web sites. Freedom’s web site says the engineering courses are “complement traditional mathematics and science classes.”