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K-12 Engineering Becomes a Trend

GettyImages_dksk00147 biggerSpurred by growing concerns that American students lack the skills to compete in a global economy, school districts nationwide are packing engineering lessons into already crowded schedules for even the youngest students, giving priority to a subject that was once left to after-school robotics clubs and summer camps, or else waited until college, the New York Times reports. Districts cited include Glen Rock, N.Y., Manassas, Va., and Anderson, S.C. Congress is considering legislation, the Engineering Education for Innovation Act, that provide grants to help integrate engineering into curricula.

Supporters say that engineering reinforces math and science skills, promotes critical thinking and creativity, and teaches students not to be afraid of taking intellectual risks. But the Times article cites experts who caution that engineering can’t be a substitute for good teaching. ASEE’s public-affairs manager, William Kelly, is quoted as saying, “You’re not really learning what I would call engineering fundamentals. You’re really learning about engineering.”

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