While physics and math certainly share a lot, they are not one and the same. For example units are absolutely essential in physics, but in math they are ignored. The number plane is really a map, and not a graph, so students have difficulty with graphs. Math and physics go hand in hand, but many physical principles can be taught with very little math.
Even kinematics which is probably the most math like part of physics has a number of concepts which don't appear in the math books. And contrariwise to your statement about physics teachers, many math teachers don't understand physics. Actually many physics teachers don't understand either physis or math well. And then there was my daughter's math teacher who said she didn't know of any applications for logarithms. She obviously did not know anything about optics, sound, or chemistry! I think the ignorance can be spread far and wide.
The evidence that I have heard about CIMM is that math is better taught starting with measurement and early on relating it to physical quantities rather than more abstractly. I myself taught my children the essence of decimal numbers using physical examples.
John M. Clement Houston, TX
> It seems to turn out the worse when you have a physics > teacher that doesn't understand how physics and math are > often one and the same. Unfortunately, they think that its > conceptual or numeric and they mis-categorize the mathematics > of physics as numeric. Probably because they themselves look > at math as formulas and even when they derive a formula (for > the class) it is obvious that they don't get it and are doing > a rote recitation. The mathematics of physics is actually > conceptual. It is only that some problems have a numerical > conclusion.