- Most high school students graduate without taking a physics class, considered a core subject needed for STEM majors in colleges and science careers. Just 39% of the 2013 graduating class took a physics course, according to the American Institute of Physics.
- The problem rests with the severe shortage of physics teachers in the U.S., according to The Hechinger Report.
- Some districts are addressing that issue by training in-house, working with nonprofits like the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning to get the teachers the credentials they need to teach physics.
Curriculum designers may want to offer certain courses for their students, but they can’t if educators capable of teaching these classes are not available. Options such as hiring teachers who don't hold the qualifications may look like one path. But this can lead to frustrated students and educators and lead to high turnover rates — a huge expense for districts, according to a report from The Learning Policy Institute.
One method the research group suggests is to create teacher residencies, where candidates partner with educators in the desired field to get these newer teachers up to speed. So too is identifying current, qualified, teachers who want to gain additional new skills and credentials. Both are viable options to ensure students have every opportunity they deserve in their learning, while also making sure that administrators can create the curriculum they want in their schools.