Orlando’s Jones High School, which was once segregated but which recently moved into a new building, has not offered physics in some time and has been the only Orange County high school not to do so. The irony of this situation is rich – one of the school’s distinguished alumni is National Medal of Science-winning physicist Sylvester “Jim” Gates, who is on the physics faculty at the University of Maryland. He took physics at Jones when it was segregated.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Leslie Postal looks into the situation in this morning’s paper, pointing out that the lack of physics at the traditionally black school is an equity issue. The school’s principal and district administration seem to understand that this is a problem and say that they want to solve it for the fall of 2016.
Leslie compares the situation at Jones to that at Tallahassee’s Godby High School, a low SES school where physics teacher Zondra Clayton has built a program that is enrolling 175 students this fall.
UCF’s PhysTEC program (a teacher education program based in the Physics Department) gets a shout-out in the Sentinel article as well.