|Action||Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel|
|Comment Period||Ends 11/6/2015|
Proposed Engineering Endorsement
I do not support the proposed Engineering Endorsement 8VAC20-23-330.
Engineering should be available to everyone, not just the select few students who plan to be engineers. The engineering design process is a broadly applicable skill that all students should learn and use to solve real life problems. Virginia’s technology education program already presents students with opportunities to take courses that challenge them with hands on activities that use the engineering design process while practicing the mathematics and science students they learn in their core courses.
Virginia’s technology program is very successful in teaching engineering. During the 2014-2015 school year there were 312 schools with 9,063 students enrolled in 12 different courses that contained engineering in the title of the name. Over the past 10 years, 48,262 students took these same elective courses. Certainly there are more courses that teach engineering design and habits of mind (e.g. geospatial technology, electronics technology, construction technology, architectural drawing, etc.).
STEM education is on the minds and lips of many educational leaders today. The main issue with creating a valid STEM program is to integrate the practice of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics together. This integration is already occurring in many Governor's STEM Academies. If we are to create another engineering program requirement, it will further isolate those four areas of STEM versus creating true integration.
I do support the requirements laid out by Senate Joint Resolution 308 passed by the General Assembly in 2011. In 2012, Dr. Patricia Wright submitted a letter to the Virginia General Assembly providing the plan for Virginia to use existing mathematics, science, and technology courses to teach engineering. By collaborating, these teachers will learn from each other, use common examples in their lessons and therefore strengthen student success in all course work, even beyond mathematics, science, and technology courses.
In conclusion, creating a more rigorous engineering endorsement requirement will not be in the best interest of the majority of students in this great Commonwealth. By doing so, we will create additional teacher shortages and provide engineering courses to a select few students versus to all students who would otherwise benefit from learning engineering.
The bottom line is not winning the argument of how and by whom engineering should be taught, it should be about ensuring that engineering programs are available to all students. By doing so, our students will be the winners.