The only way the standard of physics and mathematics knowledge of our students can be raised is by training highly qualified teachers; teachers who do not finish a bachelors degree in physics or math education, but at least a masters degree in rigorous, content based, real mathematics and physics. Utopically, a physics/math teacher goes through as selective and rigorous a training as a medical doctor, and is paid equally. Once you realize that education is the engine of our evolution and how important roles physics and math play in the operation of that engine, you won’t think this to be such a crazy idea!

Why do I single out physics and mathematics from among so many other technical subjects? Why do I turn the “S” of the unqualified, technology-obsessed, educator’s favorite acronym into “P” and completely leave out the “T” and the “E”?   Because physics is how we find out about nature, and in this sense, it is as old as – no, older than – our species.

In fact, the first homo erectus who bashed two stones together started physics. Theirs was the first interaction between a living thing and nature which involved learning and the transformation of the brain through that learning.

As the interaction between humans and nature became more and more sophisticated, mathematics became more and more necessary. First it was a simple head count of the clan for the purpose of hunting a proportionate number of kills. Next it turned into measuring the optimal size of the land for cultivation. Then drawing straight lines to separate lands of different crops. Finally, constructing right angles at the corners of these lands to fit them nicely at all corners. Egyptians discovered that a triangle whose sides were 3, 4, and 5 had one right angle, and they used this in their architecture and to separate tillage. Geometry was the creation of the physics of land measurement … and that is precisely where it got its name from.

5 thoughts on “Physics/Math”

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. I teach chemistry and see the same thing happening in that subject. We need secondary teachers who are “experts” in the subject which means they have at least a Bachelor’s degree in the subject instead of a teaching degree with a credential to teach science. The credentials are useless because they take a 1 semester “general science” course to get it. Therefore, they really don’t know the subject material. Who do we have to kill or bribe to get this system into place? 🙂

  2. John, I feel for your closing question! I wish I had an answer, but I know that if we do nothing about it, it gets even worse. Exchanging ideas and thoughts is a good start.

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Education drives the evolution of our species.