Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in Virginia [8 VAC 20 ‑ 542]
Action Comprehensive Revision of the Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 10/31/2015
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10/22/15  8:47 pm
Commenter: Sidney Arthur Rader, DTE Retired

Proposed Engineering Course 8 VAC-543/ Opposed to additional stand alone course

Commenter: Sidney Arthur Rader, DTE Retired

Proposed Engineering Course; 8 VAC-543

I was completely taken aback when I received notification of the fact that a proposal has been made to offer a separate engineering course within the Virginia Public Schools.  For the majority of my Technology Education teaching career, I was not only involved with the courses offered within my curriculum area, but also with the promotion and support of engineering education.  I developed a close relationship with the JETS Organization at the National Level and was the advisor to several teams winning the Virginia State Competition of the National Engineering Design Challenge Competitions.  I was able to broker relationships between the Technology Student Association and the JETS Organization where the National Engineering Design Challenge was concerned.  When the JETS Organization made its decision to cease operation due to lack of support and participation, Dr. Rosanne White, executive director of the Technology Student Association, reached out to the JETS Board and was able to negotiate the transfer of many of the programs and activites of the JETS Organization to the Technology Student Association.   The TEAMS Program is alive and well today because of Dr. White and her dedicated staff at the Technology Student Association.  The UNITE Program as well as the Engineering Design Competition within TSA are also providing students with opportunites for exposure to STEM integration activities that prepare them for career paths in the Engineering and Technical Fields.  I believe that  this proposed course, seperate from the courses already being offered to students here in the Commonwealth, would prove to be a mistake of paramount proportions.  There is no denying the fact that research dictates that integrated Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathamatics, STEM education, is the most logical and successful approach to preparing students for Engineering and Technical fields. A separate course is unnecessary and would prove to be a step in the wrong direction. Through the Virginia Department of Education, Career & Technical Education classes (CTE), Technology and Engineering education courses included, students in the commonwealth have and are being approprialtely prepared for College and Careers.  Our technology education classes and programs here in the commonwealth have consistently been rcognized as national leaders in incorporating engineering courses and content since 1988, and in some cases as myself, before.  In 2011, Senate resolution 308 directed the shared responsibility for engineering content across Science, Technology & Mathamatics classes and the successes of this directive are evident across the commonwealth.  It is essential and should be considered mandatory that this shared responsibility be sustained as a avenue to establishing a strong future workforce.   The Engineering Design Process and a "Hands On" learning environment within Technology and Engineering classrooms within the commonwealth and across the nation will continue to be the preferred and most successful approach, with the support of math and science programs.  Engineering is STEM.

The proposed added course is redundant, uneccessary, and a misdirection and waste of resources. Working within the framework of success that already exists is the best way to promote engineering within the commonwealth and the nation.