|Action||Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel|
|Comment Period||Ends 11/6/2015|
Proposed Engineering Endorsement
I am Jesse W. White. I have a current Post Graduate Professional Virginia Teaching License with endorsements in Technology Education, Adult Education, and Building Trades. Over the course of my career, I taught high school Technology, served as President of the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association, been a Career and Technical Education Director in Hampton, VA, a business owner, a building contractor, and directed adult developmental disability programs. I have worked in both the private and public sectors over the last 40 years. I have a B.S.E. in Industrial Technology, an M.Ed. in Vocational and Adult Education, an Ed.S. In Vocational Education Leadership, and completed all but my dissertation in Human Performance Technology and completed training in Quality, Lean Processes, and Six Sigma. I have been recognized for leadership and service by my peers in K-12 and have developed solid industry-education partnerships, career academies, and served as a board member in the Virginia Association for Career and Technical Education, Virginia Children’s Engineering Council, and other leadership roles.
Before retiring last month, my work included developing STEM middle school programs, the only health and medical sciences middle school program in Virginia, and the first Governor’s Health Sciences Academy. I helped develop one of the first Governor’s STEM academies as well as the Architecture and Applied Arts Governor’s STEM Academy in Hampton and one in the application phase to ensure the students in Hampton have rigorous academic and performance-based real career experiences. I have also re-designed the engineering program in Hampton where we graduated two Gates Millennium Scholars, have students who went to post-secondary engineering school or into industry, and students who have done well in ABET accredited post-secondary engineering programs. I have also built positive relationships with our local and regional employers.
After listening to and reading comments on the proposed new engineering endorsement, I do not believe this solution of a new and separate engineering endorsement represents the needs of the Commonwealth, our schools, the career field of engineering, nor our community’s needs or education priorities. I am not saying this work is flawed, however, I do think it is important to measure the right question; if there is a need to improve instruction, why reinvent the wheel? In the town hall comments, it is said (paraphrased) that there is no engineering at the K-12 level. I ask, then where did our engineers come from if they did not learn to be engineers in high school? How did they come to know about these careers and how did our students, who do not know an engineer in their home life, succeed in enrolling in a postsecondary engineering program? Where do first generation STEM learners look in their development and growth for that positive and encouraging adult (teacher)? In the Virginia Board of Education approved and industry-validated curriculim, Engineering has been in our schools since the 1980's and is currently taught at the developmentally approriate level.
I believe that the initial idea of the Governor’s STEM Academies was to resolve the very concern that is posed as if nothing is being done. The advent of the Governor’s STEM Academies in 2008 surely have an impact on creating new engineers. There are now 23 Governor’s STEM Academies in Virginia. These STEM Academies rely on Technology Education for engineering content and processes which is embedded in the essential competencies even if the name of a course does not match a university course. My colleagues and I agree that there is no established need for the proposed endorsement outlined in 8VAC20-23-330. The National Academy of Engineering does not advocate for a segregated curriculum. Mastery of Science, Technology, and Mathematics are the disciplines required to be able to apply the engineering design process. This new endorsement will not guarantee a stronger engineering background of a teacher nor an ability to assure student learning. Currently, there are no barriers to bringing college graduates with engineering degrees and licenses into the teaching profession. Hampton has several and they have been teaching Technology and Engineering for decades. I strongly oppose the creation of this engineering endorsement. While continuous improvement processes are always needed, and in this case we hear from those who state a need for improvement, it is my hope that the focus of time and money be put in improving the current system (one that has produced desired results) rather than create a fuzzy model that has no research base, nor clarity in its outcomes. It would diffuse school divisions ability to produce college and career ready adults. Perhaps the advocates of this proposal would offer their time to assure a better curriculum offering rather than create an unnecessary burden on the schools in the Commonwealth.
I believe that a reevaluation and review of more current and relevant data, particularly from the Governor’s STEM Academies would now be more of an urgent need to avoid potential waste of state and local tax dollars. Please do not allow this proposed engineering endorsement.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide my comments.
Jesse W. White
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