National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP)

Despite federal legislation mandating highly qualified teachers for every classroom, school districts confirm a considerable shortage of physics teachers year after year, greater than any other science discipline. Compounding this problem, the preparation of qualified physics teachers has failed to keep pace with a dramatic increase in the number of high-school students taking physics. The potential negative consequences of maintaining the status quo are far-reaching, both for physics as a discipline and for the U.S. economy and society as a whole.

In response to the shortage of physics teachers in the U.S. and concerns about their effectiveness, the American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, and American Institute of Physics formed the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP). T-TEP was charged with documenting the state of physics teacher preparation and with making recommendations for the development of exemplary physics teacher education programs.

Except for a few excellent programs, T-TEP found that nationally, physics teacher preparation is inefficient, incoherent, and unprepared to deal with the current and future needs of the nation's students. An innovative national program is needed to develop new resources, expertise, and capacity in order to meet current and future national needs. Toward this end, T-TEP recommends establishing regional centers in physics education. These centers would be the main regional producers of well-qualified physics teachers and would be a nexus for scholarly work on physics education. In addition, the centers would help veteran science teachers at all levels deepen their knowledge and skills.

PhysTEC National Task Force

T-TEP Members

Stamatis Vokos, Chair (Seattle Pacific University)
Eugenia Etkina (Rutgers University)
J.D. Garcia (University of Arizona)
David Haase (North Carolina State University)
Drew Isola (Allegan Public Schools)
Eugene Levy (Rice University)
Valerie Otero (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Mary Ann Rankin (University of Maryland at College Park)

Society liaisons:

Jack Hehn (American Institute of Physics)
Beth Cunningham (American Association of Physics Teachers)
Ted Hodapp (American Physical Society)
Cathy O'Riordan (American Institute of Physics)
Monica Plisch (American Physical Society)

Consultants:

David Meltzer, Senior Consultant

T-TEP Report

TTEP Report Cover
Download the full text of the report


Report Citation

David E. Meltzer, Monica Plisch, and Stamatis Vokos, editors, Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action. A Report by the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP) (American Physical Society, College Park, MD, 2012).


Press

The Role of Physics Departments in High School Teacher Education, APS News, August 2013

Highly trained physical science teachers needed to educate students for high-tech economy, The Hill blog, April 25, 2013

TTEP Press Release, April 2013

Task Force Calls Physics Teacher Preparation Massively Inadequate, APS News, April 2010


Task Force Presentations

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T-TEP Policy Statement

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Contact T-TEP