Kudos for Engineers' Involvement with K-12

The articles that appeared in the Prism special issue on K-12 education (February 2001) were a strong reminder that there is a lot that the engineering community can do to strengthen education. Engineering no longer has to stay on the sidelines without activities and course work at the K-12 level that specifically address innovation and engineering concepts.

The articles affirm that the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration initiatives are starting to make a difference in preparing teachers, curriculum materials, and professional development with engineering in mind. The recently completed Standards for Technological Literacy, which were formally reviewed by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council of the Academies, serve as a guide for what students need to know and be able to do in connection with the study of technology.

Thousands of students have now gone through engineering-related courses in New York, Virginia, and Wisconsin in state curricula designed with engineering, innovation, and technological literacy as a focus. Nine states are now part of a consortium creating curriculum and professional development in line with the technological literacy standards. The most recent state approval of engineering course work at the K-12 level in Massachusetts is yet another example of progress that is being made.

Engineers have much to look forward to in the years ahead as this work continues from the very earliest grade levels through high school. You are to be congratulated for the awareness that you created through the Prism articles. Continued success to you in your good work.

Kendall N. Starkweather
Executive Director
International Technology Education Association

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