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(Adopted by Council on May 21, 1999)
The scientific societies listed below urge the physics community, specifically physical science and engineering departments and their faculty members, to take an active role in improving the pre-service training of K-12 physics/science teachers. Improving teacher training involves building cooperative working relationships between physicists in universities and colleges and the individuals and groups involved in teaching physics to K- 12 students. Strengthening the science education of future teachers addresses the pressing national need for improving K-12 physics education and recognizes that these teachers play a critical education role as the first and often-times last physics teacher for most students. While this responsibility can be manifested in many ways, research indicates that effective pre-service teacher education involves hands-on, laboratory-based learning. Good science and mathematics education will help create a scientifically literate public, capable of making informed decisions on public policy involving scientific matters. A strong K-12 physics education is also the first step in producing the next generation of researchers, innovators, and technical workers.