Sunday, January 14, 2007
It's common, and at least partly justified, to decry the state of science education in the United States. So it's nice to read that the number of high school students taking physics has reached a record high. Moreover, the number of bachelor's degrees in physics has gone up 31 percent since 2000. Continuing a trend that's been visible since 1986, the percentage of high school students taking physics has now hit 30 percent. The percentages of minority and female students are likewise up significantly, with 47 percent of today's physics students being girls. Michael Neuschatz of the American Institute of Physics attributes the increase to wider choice, with more schools offering specialized classes rather than a single broad physics class, and the desire of college-bound students to show challenging science classes on their transcripts.