Race to the Bottom? Science and Engineering Education.

One week ago today, the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council held a public briefing and symposium to release the report “Engineering in K-12 Education:  Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects.”  The report assesses the value of developing and implementing engineering curricula for kindergarten through grade 12.  The report also describes what engineering concepts children are able to understand and at what age, and provides an analysis of more than a dozen engineering curriculum projects.

Access the report for free online or listen to the webcast of the event.

On a related note, recently, a friend and extraordinary man David Hartman forwarded to me an Aviation Week and Space Technology article. Hartman, a former cohost of Good Morning America, is the tall man pictured here with a VERY pregnant, fat me…it was yeeeeaaars ago, OK!?  Recognize MIT’s Marvin Minsky, Penn and Teller, ABC’s John Stosell, Robin Roberts and Antonio Mora? Hartman and Mora cohosted the Discover Technology Awards, a program I directed. But I digress… the article’s written by Norman Augustine, an engineer and former CEO of Lockheed Martin, who addresses his “concerns about the impacts current trends will have on his field.” *

If you’ve stayed through that intro, you deserve a mind-boggling excerpt from this article: “Students in grades 5-8 have a 98% chance of having a science teacher who does not have a degree in science.”

Read the piece titled Race to the Bottom and take note that it’s not all bad news. In fact,  I’ll be back with a look at how and why U.S. adults are outpacing other nations when it comes to science literacy…while our kids continue to lag far behind.  (9/29 addition: Here’s a related article on Why the World Needs More Engineers. Thanks, subscriber Bart, for sending this to us.)

*Augustine and Hartman go back to 1987 when Hartman produced a prime time documentary on National Defense and the U.S. Military.  I should mention that Hartman wants readers to know that it was Tony Borotto, a retired aviator, who sent him Augustine’s article.