Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Licensure Regulations for School Personnel [8 VAC 20 ‑ 22]
Action Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 11/6/2015
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10/24/15  8:37 pm
Commenter: Ed Prior, retired from NASA Langley

Engineering education in Virginia

     My name is Ed Prior.  I received my BS in engineering from the University of Illinois, my MS in astronomy from UVA, and an MS in management information systems from GWU.  I have limited experience as a teacher, but my wife Margaret taught at the middle and high school level for 6 years.  During 40 years at NASA Langley, I had many opportunities to be involved in both science and engineering projects and activities.  My last 7 years at NASA were spent working with university professors and both undergraduate and graduate students from every state in the USA who came to spend internships at Langley---some for the summer, some for the whole year.  I read Mr. Jim Batterson’s comments here and strongly agree with him that changes need to be made in how Virginia---and for that matter, how the United States---approaches the teaching of engineering at our schools.  While physics is an important subject for engineers to learn, and mathematics is the indispensible language of both physics and engineering, the reality for our national economy is that engineers are the prime movers when it comes to developing innovative products using the principles of physics.  And yet it is difficult to find any American schools that provide a solid grounding in engineering principles for its students.  I am astonished that, in the example that Mr. Batterson provides in his comments, an MIT chemical engineering major is required by the State to take 12 hours of technology education courses in order to receive a provisional technology education license to teach in high schools here.  The proposed 8VAC20-23-330 endorsement can give our students a much stronger background in engineering, help end or greatly modify the odd Virginia restrictions on bringing in fresh engineering college grads to teach them---and help position more Virginia young people to begin productive and innovative careers as our nation fends off engineering and technology challenges from our economic competitors all over the globe.