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President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report:
Standards for K-12 Engineering Education?:
Engineering in K-12 Education:
Rising Above the Gathering Storm:

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President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report: “STEM education will determine whether the United States will remain a leader among nations and whether we will be able to solve immense challenges in such areas as energy, health, environmental protection, and national security.”

“In the 21st century, the country’s need for a world-leading STEM workforce and a scientifically, mathematically, and technologically literate populace has become even greater, and it will continue to grow—particularly as other nations continue to make rapid advances in science and technology.”

“The approximately 20 million people in the United States who have degrees in STEM- or healthcare-related fields can potentially be a tremendous asset to U.S. education.”

“The most important factor in ensuring excellence is great STEM teachers, with both deep content knowledge in STEM subjects and mastery of the pedagogical skills required to teach these subjects well.”

“The Federal Government should set a goal of ensuring over the next decade the recruitment, prepara¬tion, and induction support of at least 100,000 new STEM middle and high school teachers who have strong majors in STEM fields and strong content-specific pedagogical preparation, by providing vigor¬ous support for programs designed to produce such teachers.”

“STEM-focused schools represent a unique National resource, both through their direct impact on stu¬dents and as laboratories for experimenting with innovative approaches.”

“The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) believes that the Nation has an urgent need—but also, thanks to recent developments, an unprecedented opportunity—to bring together stakeholders at all levels to transform STEM education to lay the groundwork for a new century of American progress and prosperity.”

Standards for K-12 Engineering Education?: “Ultimately, curriculum developers, providers of professional development, and others with an engineering-pipeline orientation may build on the foundation provided by core ideas by emphasizing connections between engineering and mathematics and science, especially physics.”

“Limited but intriguing evidence suggests that engineering education can not only improve students’ understanding of engineering but also stimulate interest and improve learning in mathematics and science.”

“For a country like the United States, which is dependent on technological development, we can think of few subjects as critical as engineering to building an informed, literate citizenry, ensuring our quality of life, and addressing the serious challenges facing our country and the world.”

“The committee concluded that, although it is theoretically possible to develop standards for K–12 engineering education, it would be extremely difficult to ensure their usefulness and effective implementation. This conclusion is supported by the following findings: (1) there is relatively limited experience with K–12 engineering education in U.S. elementary and secondary schools, (2) there is not at present a critical mass of teachers qualified to deliver engineering instruction, (3) evidence regarding the impact of standards-based educational reforms on student learning in other subjects, such as mathematics and science, is inconclusive, and (4) there are significant barriers to introducing stand-alone standards for an entirely new content area in a curriculum already burdened with learning goals in more established domains of study.”

Engineering in K-12 Education: “K–12 engineering education may improve student learning and achievement in science and mathematics; increase awareness of engineering and the work of engineers; boost youth interest in pursuing engineering as a career; and increase the technological literacy of all students.”

“Increasing the visibility of technology and, especially, engineering in STEM education in ways that address the interconnections in STEM teaching and learning could be extremely important”.

“Integrated STEM education could improve teaching and learning in all four STEM subjects by forcing a reevaluation of the currently excessive expectations for STEM teachers and students.”

“Changes in the world – increasing complexity, interconnectivity, competitiveness and technology dependence – that pose new challenges for individuals and for nations that cannot be met by continuing education as usual. We will need a steady supply of well-trained engineers, scientists and other technical workers, as well as a technologically and scientifically literate general public, to succeed and prosper in the twenty-first century.

In the past few years, many studies, such as Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, have argued that improving science and mathematical education will require substantial reform.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm: “Education in science, mathematics, and technology has become a focus of intense concern within the business and academic communities. The domestic and world economies depend more and more on science and engineering. But our primary and secondary schools do not seem able to produce enough students with the interest, motivation, knowledge, and skills they will need to compete and prosper in the emerging world.”