The initial draft of APS’s updated statement on K-12 education has been posted on the APS website and members are invited to read the proposed statement and submit their thoughts and suggestions about it.
Every five years APS statements are reviewed and amended as necessary. The latest version of the K-12 Education Statement features many changes and updates to the previous statement, which was passed by Council in 2000. In particular, it highlights the need for qualified physical science teachers more explicitly than in previous versions.
“We are sort of in a key moment for education and science education in particular,” said Paul Cottle, a physicist at Florida State University and Chair of the APS Committee on Education. He added that physics and the physical sciences are often the target of cuts as schools face budget constraints. “The most powerful thing we can do is to get the physics community to say teaching physics is important.”
The statement calls on policy makers to provide every student with one year of high quality physics education. In addition, it calls for a national effort for colleges and universities to partner with colleges of education and local K-12 schools, teachers to have access to educational resources and training and to increase the participation of underrepresented groups.
“Physical science is a core discipline that underlies almost everything else that students do,” said Susan Seestrom of Los Alamos National Laboratory and member of APS’s Panel on Public Affairs.
The statement was first drafted by the subcommittee on K-12 education of the APS Committee on Education, then approved by the full committee and the Panel on Public Affairs.
The statement will remain open for comment until the end of June. The recent APS climate change statement’s review process was the very first to ask the membership to comment on its language. The K-12 statement is the first of the statements to require membership comments as part of its usual five-year review.
“It will be interesting to see what the comments look like,” Cottle said. “We’ll do revision work based on the comments we receive.”
APS K-12 Education Statement
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Staff Science Writer: Michael Lucibella