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The Demise of Traditional Technology and Engineering Education Teacher Preparation Programs and a New Direction for the Profession

Author:

Kenneth Volk

Khalifa University in the United Arab Emirates, AE
About Kenneth
Director of Outreach Programs at Khalifa University in the United Arab Emirates
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Abstract

For nearly 40 years, there has been a serious decline in the number of new technology and engineering education teachers and teacher preparation programs in the United States (Akmal, Oaks, & Barker, 2002; Daugherty & Boser, 1993; Edmunds, 1980; Greene, 2016; Moye, 2009; Volk, 1993). Currently, only 15% of the technology and engineering education degree-granting university programs remain since 1970, with nearly half of those remaining barely surviving with three or fewer students graduating annually (Rogers, 2017; Wall, 1970). Perhaps most telling about the health of technology and engineering education is the following question: With nearly half the states no longer having a technology and engineering education teacher preparation program, how can it continue to be considered a “legitimate” subject to be taught in schools?

Declines in the number of technology and engineering education teachers and teacher preparation programs since the 1970s show no signs of abating. There are several reasons for this continued decline. First, the transformation of technology and engineering education programs to industrial technology and engineering eliminated the need to accommodate the preparation of teachers or continue their past mission. Second, those few technology and engineering education programs that still exist may not reflect the reality of many school programs, creating a mismatch between content and expectations when recruiting new student teachers. Finally, with justifications for technology and engineering education and its inclusion in the broader science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) umbrella being based on economic justifications and national standards, there has been an increase in corporate-driven and foundation-sanctioned technology and engineering education programs. Of particular focus is Project Lead the Way (PLTW), who’s training for their program (product) reduces the need for traditional technology and engineering education teacher preparation programs.

This article first examines recent trends in technology and engineering education teacher preparation programs in the United States, including the number of graduates and university programs available. Following a discussion of the aforementioned impacts on technology and engineering education teacher programs, a summation is provided, contending that the few traditional teacher preparation programs that remain are in jeopardy and that new teachers in technology and engineering education will likely come through alternative means such as PLTW.

How to Cite: Volk, K. (2019). The Demise of Traditional Technology and Engineering Education Teacher Preparation Programs and a New Direction for the Profession. Journal of Technology Education, 31(1), 2–18. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jte.v31i1.a.1
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Published on 21 Sep 2019.
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