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Restore Engineering as a Core Discipline in the NGSS!

January 23, 2013

Despite the historic inclusion of engineering design as a core discipline, key practice, and crosscutting concept in the National Research Council's, A Framework for K-12 Science Education, we are concerned that Engineering as a Core Disciplinary Idea has been omitted in the 2nd public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). If you support engineering in K-12 education, I urge you to respond to the last call for comments by January 29.

The original core idea of Engineering Design is now completely missing from the standards. To be fair, engineering is still included as a practice, and several of the performance expectations reflect parts of the engineering process. However, engineering design is now fragmented and seems to be used only as a vehicle for students to show they understand science, rather than as a discipline asking students to learn how to define, solve, and optimize a solution to problems, as featured in the Framework.

The second core idea, that science and engineering are interdependent, and that science, technology and engineering influence society and the natural world, has also disappeared as a standard. Now viewed as a crosscutting idea, it too shows up here and there within the natural science disciplines, but not as a coherent idea that all students are expected to learn.

Advancing K-12 engineering education is essential to meeting the demands of a 21st century workforce and our national security needs. Let's not back down on this critical opportunity. If you believe all students should learn engineering design and know about the impact of this important discipline, please urge the writers to Restore Engineering as a Core Disciplinary Idea by January 29.

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