During the 2008–09 academic year, 27,000 high school teachers taught physics in U.S. high schools. Some of these teachers taught only one physics class, but, for the first time in our survey history, over half taught all physics or mostly physics. While the proportion teaching physics classes exclusively did not change from 2005, those teaching most of their classes in physics grew. This suggests a shrinking “hidden” capacity to teach more physics classes. This “hidden” capacity refers to the additional physics classes that a physics teacher who does not teach physics exclusively could teach. As more teachers teach a majority of their classes in physics, this could increase their enthusiasm for physics. The increased enthusiasm could spur even more interest in physics among students and faster growth in physics taking.

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