Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Tom Reed (R-NY) Work to Bring Engineering to American Schools

Jul 8, 2016 Issues: Economy, Education, Manufacturing

Washington, DC – Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Tom Reed (R-NY) introduce the Pre-College Engineering Education Act, which makes it easier for school districts to incorporate engineering education in their science standards. Ryan and Reed are co-chairs of the House Manufacturing Caucus.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is critical in developing student interest and aptitude in subjects directly relevant to the Nation’s capacity for research and innovation.  This capacity is largely credited with supporting United States economic health, national security, and quality of life.  While a primary focus in most STEM-related education has been on sciences and math, the “E” in STEM has received a relatively minor emphasis in formal pre-college education. 

This bipartisan legislation establishes a grant program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to encourage States and local school districts to develop and implement sustainable engineering education programs in elementary and secondary schools through public-private partnerships.

“One of the best ways to promote economic growth is by giving our students the tools they need to become entrepreneurs and makers, and training them to use the technology of the future,” said Congressman Ryan. “It is critical that we focus on making investments in our schools and prepare our young people to be the innovators that will enhance the American economy.”

“We care about providing our kids with the best opportunity to succeed. We can help create those opportunities by giving them the educational resources they need to thrive in engineering, science and other advanced manufacturing fields. Having that kind of support at an early age is a simple, but critical, investment that we can and should make.  It’s just the right thing to do,” said Congressman Reed.

This legislation is supported by The Ohio State University, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), National Society of Professional Engineers, and the American Society for Engineering Education.

"We are pleased to endorse the Pre-College Engineering Education Act.  This targeted, bi-partisan legislation will allow collaborative teams of faculty to harness the power of private industry and best practices and to enhance curricula that develop the essential skills and knowledge our next generation of American engineers need to compete in the global economy," said Dr. David Williams, Executive Dean of the Professional Colleges and Dean of the College of Engineering and Dr. Cheryl Achterberg, Dean of the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University.

“According to the National Academy of Engineering, the introduction of engineering education to the K-12 classroom has the potential to promote critical thinking, provide new levels of relevancy to motivate students to learn study science content, make engineering and engineering careers more accessible to all students, and prepare the next generation to solve global problems facing humanity,” said Thomas Loughlin, Executive Director of ASME.

“The licensed professional engineer has the foremost responsibility of protecting the public health, safety and welfare above all other interests. This is an intrinsic value that we all benefit from and that should be taught to students at all levels of education. The Pre-College Engineering Act takes an important step in underscoring the value and necessity of engineering education by enhancing K–12 engineering education and providing for expanded research to inform best practices. The bill’s goals of teaching students the overall analytical approach used in engineering, increasing participation of underrepresented student groups in the engineering pipeline, and providing professional development for teachers to teach engineering are critical to cultivating the next generation of engineers,” said Tim Austin, President of the National Society of Professional Engineers.

"The American Society for Engineering Education is strongly supportive of the aim of this bill to increase attention to and support of pre-college engineering education. We believe that elements of this bill contribute toward our desire to 'Commit to P-12: Where engineering begins,” said Norman Fortenberry, Executive Director of the American Society for Engineering Education.