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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10/29/15  3:58 pm
Commenter: Toby Smith

Oppose Engineering Endorsement

I oppose the idea of requiring an Engineering degree, or an Engineering endorsement to teach Engineering-related classes that are already being taught by Technology Education teachers.  I earned my B.S. in Technology Education from Virginia Tech in 2002.  Upon graduating with my degree, I spent one school year teaching high school Architecture and Engineering Drawing and Design, and then left teaching to work as a full-time Engineer in 2004, and have worked as an Engineer ever since.  I have worked as a Quality Engineer, Industrial Engineer, Project Engineer, Process Engineer, Six Sigma Black Belt, and currently work as a Manufacturing Engineer along with leading the Configuration Management efforts at my company. defines Technology as:
- the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.

Engineering is defined as:
- the art or science of making practical application of the knowledge of pure sciences, as physics or chemistry, as in the construction of engines, bridges, buildings, mines, ships, and chemical plants.


First, in some of the other comments posted here, I saw comments that said that Technology and Engineering are different because Technology focuses on how to use tools... and Engineering focuses on design and creation.  Right, wrong, or indifferent... those comments don't hold a lot of meaning if you actually stop and think about it.  For example... a Tech Ed teacher may teach how to use CAD software.  What is CAD software used for?  In my job as an Engineer, I use CAD to DESIGN and CREATE new tools, parts, fixtures, etc. that make my life or my customers' lives easier.  That means I'm using Technology to Engineer, right?  How about a Tech Ed teacher who teaches computer programming?  A programmer learns the rules and grammar of programming languages so that they can DESIGN and CREATE new software to solve new problems or answer a need.  Again... the know-how of recognizing, using, and creating Technology was required to do the work of Engineering.  See where I'm going?  I think we'd all be hard-pressed to think of a tool (technology) that isn't used for designing, creating, or applying concepts (engineering).  Can you have one without the other?


Second, let's just be honest.  If a new college graduate steps into the job market with their shiny new engineering degree in hand, and the high probability of landing an entry level Engineering job with a $70K+ per year salary, why would they choose to enter into a career making roughly half that?  With the shortage of qualified teachers that already exists, why would rules be put in place to make the shortage exponentially tougher to fill?  Unless something is about to happen to drastically increase teachers' salaries, this idea that a meaningful number of college graduates with Engineering degrees are going to choose to teach instead of work as an Engineer is wildly unrealistic.  Teachers work long, hard hours (most likely longer hours than most salaried Engineers I'd bet), for much, much less pay.  You have to be realistic.  On top of that, it is inappropriate to believe that an Engineering degree will give the skills needed to handle a classroom full of students and the multitude of new challenges they present every day.  That idea seems to have been forgotten in many of the other comments in this forum.  Engineers don't exactly have a reputation for being the most outgoing, people-person types of personalities...


Technology doesn't exist without Engineers... and Engineers don't exist without Technology.  Technology is far too wide of a topic to believe that Engineering can contain it, and Engineering is far too wide of a topic to think that Technology can contain it.  But either Technology or Engineering without the other falls short of its great potential.  To say that designing and creating is limited only to Engineering is inappropriate.  It's also short-sighted to believe that Technology is the only path to design and creativity.  To believe that you can separate Engineering from Technology is simply incorrect, which is why I oppose the idea of requiring an engineering-specific endorsement to teach classes already properly taught by Technology Education teachers.