Physics is the gateway high school science course for lucrative college majors in engineering and science. How well Florida’s school districts provide opportunities for their high school students to take physics and how well they succeed in selling these opportunities determine what college majors and careers will be available to their graduates.
It’s really that simple.
Shown below are the Fall 2015 physics enrollment rates for high school students in Florida’s school districts. The rates are shown as the number of physics course enrollments per 100 12th graders in each district. The numbers of 12th graders were actually taken from numbers posted by the Florida Department of Education last spring (this fall’s numbers have not yet been posted). In addition, the enrollment numbers were graciously provided by the Florida Department of Education in response to my request.
The physics enrollment numbers include the standard and honors physics classes, AP physics courses (although AP Physics C E&M is not included because it would double count students enrolled in AP Physics C Mechanics as well), IB physics courses and Pre-AICE and AICE physics courses.
One caution about the data: The data came to me listed by school. To protect student privacy, the FLDOE does not post the number of students in a particular course at a particular school if the number is 10 or smaller. This would particularly affect enrollments in small rural schools.
Having said that, Florida’s Big Three in high school physics – Brevard, Seminole and Leon Counties – continue to be far ahead of the rest of the state.