Principle on Educational Program in Science and Mathematics

(Adopted by Council on November 20, 1983)

A strong educational program in Science and Mathematics is crucial for our national well-being. The graduates of our educational system contribute to the nation's economic vitality through the technical innovations and increased productivity which results from research and development. Science literacy for all citizens is necessary to ensure full participation in the society of the future. For example, societal issues, ranging from the environment to arms control hinge on a proper appreciation of technical questions.

The change to high technology in our industries requires extensive technical preparation for a wider range of initial career options and a greater flexibility of individuals throughout their working lifetimes. In light of these considerations, we are concerned at the decline in student preparation and proficiency in science and mathematics. We are particularly distressed at the loss of primary and secondary teachers of science and mathematics to other, more economically attractive professions.

In response to these concerns, we recognize the need for more extensive science and mathematics requirements for all students at the primary and secondary level, coupled with higher college admission standards in these areas. We advocate a salary structure, working conditions and educational programs that will allow schools to compete successfully for qualified science and mathematics teachers. We also encourage curriculum improvements which make the courses more interesting to students and establish the connections between science and technology. We welcome emphasis on education in the federal, state and local budgets and advocate continuing stable support in the future. We offer our assistance in the definition of federal, state and local programs. We intend to collaborate with other technical and educational societies in addressing these problems.

We urge local involvement in the educational process by individual American Physical Society members and will continue our efforts to facilitate such activities.