» Legislative mandates for STEM or Technology and Engineering Education

Legislative mandates for STEM or Technology and Engineering

Education in states other than New York

NYSTEEA is interested in finding out which states have legislation for mandated high school technology for graduation.

Does your state have mandated technology education, but more importantly, has it been mandated through your state legislature as opposed to the state education department?


To answer your question, here in Massachusetts Technology Education is not mandated. Only English, physical education and a course in US history are required to be taught in the public schools. What we do have are a set of standards for each discipline, which are required by state statue. These standards form the basis for a series state assessment tests that each student is required to take at the end of the school year. In the area of Technology Education students are required to take a state assessment at the end of grades 5 and 8.

At the high school level, student the need to successful past a state assessment test in English Language Arts and mathematics and they also need to past one assessment test in the area of science or technology/engineering in order to receive a high school diploma.

So, the state doesn’t mandate Technology Education directly, but with the state requiring students to complete a assessment test in grades 5 and 8 it is being taught and giving the students an option to take a technology/engineering test to graduate from high school more and more schools are looking at the discipline as an asset.

On another note, this past May the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education adopted a regulation that will allow the technology/engineering to be used as part of the admission requirements in the area of science. This something the MassTEC boards has been working for the past 5 years.

Charlie Corley, DTE


In Pennsylvania we have regulations that require that planned instruction in Technology Education be provided to every student K-12. It is broken down as follows K-2 (Primary program - every student every year), 3-5 (Intermediate level program – every student every year), 6-8 (Middle level program – every student and is listed twice), and 9-12 (High School program – every student plus additionally it has to be made available to every student again) each level is broken down by student age not building type. Technology Education is included in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science and Technology and is identified as a separate Curricular Area, “Technology Education, computer applications and science are separate curricular areas. “, and is clearly defined (see below). I had been asked to put together a Technical Assistance document for school in our state which is attached that helps explain the importance and requirements of the teaching of Technology Education in my state. It is sad to say that the regulations are not followed as they should be and I have been hard at work to correct that. Hope this is of help to you and your state.

“What Is Technology Education? It is the means by which we teach technology. Technology is a body of knowledge separate from but related to the sciences, with specific content, curriculum and specific certification requirements. Technology is the application of tools, materials, processes and systems by humans to solve problems and provide benefits to humankind. We use technology in an attempt to improve our environment. These improvements may relate to survival needs (e.g., food, shelter, defense) or they may relate to human aspirations (e.g., knowledge, art, control). They can include unexpected benefits, unexpected costs and unexpected risks.

Technology education involves a broad spectrum of knowledge and activities. Effective technology education combines knowledge of content, process and skills to provide students with a holistic approach to learning. Technology education offers unique opportunities to apply numerous academic concepts through practical, hands-on applications. Instructional technology, on the other hand, deals specifically with use of computers and different software to solve problems and communicate effectively. Knowledge of content, process and skills should be used together to effectively engage students and promote a complete understanding of the sciences, related technologies and their interrelationship. The relationship between science and technology is one where science builds principles or theories and technology provides the practical application of those principles or theories.

Knowledge of content, process and skills in technology involves learning processes that include these components:

• Methods of designing and developing solutions

• Standards for selecting and using appropriate materials, tools and processes

• Experimental and design specifications for testing and evaluating solutions

• Criteria for judging the performance and impact of the solutions

• Evaluating the impact of modifying a system to improve performance”

Pennsylvania has the Public School Code of 1949 and Act 22 of The Pennsylvania Code that deals with Education of which Chapter 4 is a part.

The Public School Code of 1949 appears to me to be a legislative action. Would I be correct in that assumption? Therefore, Act 22 and Chapter 4 would also be. Correct? BT

You are correct, Bill

William F. Bertrand | Technology Education Advisor

Department of Education | Bureau of Teaching and Learning


New Hampshire

NH DoE requires middle school and high school TE/Eng programs but does not require students to take the courses.
Most middle schoolers do take the classes unless they are exempted due to participation in music classes or some other conflict.

About 7 years ago, the state legislature passed a law providing matching grants to high schools and tech centers wishing to start engineering programs. An advisory council was formed (NH-PETAC) to administer the program. Since then we've added middle schools to the law and just this year elementary schools were added. More info at http://www.preengineeringnh.org/
Unfortunately, the money is rapidly running out and there is little hope of any being added in the next biennium.
NH PETAC recognizes TE teachers as the deliverers of quality engineering curriculum and does whatever it can to promote our programs and help us out.
Dan Caron
WinnAero Program Director & ACE Academy Director
"Engineering & Aerospace Education"
(603) 544-3190
Technology/Engineering Education, Bedford HS
Integrative STEM Curriculum & Professional Development
NH-PETAC Chair 2010-2012
EbD-STEM Professional Development/Curriculum Associate/Author
NH AFA/Thyng Chapter VP Education Programs (2004 Teacher of the Year)


In a message dated 7/30/2012 10:35:41 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, graham@whiteboxlearning.com writes:

I wonder if we should also ask where Tech Ed is funded and where it isn't. In Oklahoma for example, Perkins funding flows through to secondary (middle AND high). In Pennsylvania though, while "mandated", the Perkins funding is primarily channeled to post secondary. So an unfunded mandate is really just a request...


The response letter that Chuck sent made reference to “no defined national or statewide definition of STEM.” Perhaps New York will consider Maryland’s approach where the State Board of Education accepted a definition of STEM Education (as opposed to a definition of STEM) and STEM Standards of Practice (which are not exclusive to any content area). The results are not perfect by any stretch, but I think that they are a good start towards inclusivity in STEM. Click on this link for details: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/stem/.

STEM education and related efforts that are restricted to math and science classrooms ignore the synergy of STEM: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Douglas H. Handy

Supervisor, Technology Education, Baltimore County Public Schools

Office of Career & Technology Education

6901 N. Charles Street, Building B

Towson, MD 21204

phone: 410-887-8927 fax: 410-821-1719


I think we all agree with Doug’s comments below about the “synergy of STEM”. In Florida, we still do not a ‘state-wide’ definition of STEM yet, but we do have a guide from the FLDOE that outlines what a STEM program of study should include: http://www.fldoe.org/bii/pdf/WhatConstitutesSTEMProgram.pdf

My thoughts are that STEM is more of a verb, than a noun. When speaking with groups of teachers about STEM, I typically ask; who is the STEM teacher in their school? Or, who is the STEM expert in their school? The point is that there is no, single STEM teacher that teaches “STEM curriculum” all day long. Although, the closest disciple to ‘pure’ STEM content is Tech Ed.

Orange County, Florida, school system has a great approach – “Some STEM for all and all STEM for some”. Every student needs to reach a minimum level of STEM literacy, but some students pursue STEM competency through science, math, and CTE courses that prepare them for college and specific careers.

Dennis Soboleski, Ed.M

Brevard Public Schools, Office of Career & Technical Education

2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way

Viera, FL 32940

Phone: 321-633-1000, x281 - Fax: 321-633-3520 - http://www.ctebrevard.com/

Hi Dennis and All,

Every little bit of information on our pursuit of STEM Ed. from each state certainly helps. Thanks very much for sharing the pdf doc. generated by the FLDOE. The language is definitely helpful and more validating of the T and E within STEM education. And YES STEM education should be for all students.

However, I would like to see an extension of the following quote..

STEM programs in Florida’s Public Schools must embrace the integration of technology and engineering in science and mathematics and technology and engineering programs must embrace the integration of science and mathematics.

Perhaps Dennis this add on is assumed somewhere within the "What Constitutes a STEM Program of Study", but I would feel more comfortable if the above extension (or some facsimile there of) did exist. At least it would give more significance and identification to our discipline within STEM education initiatives.

I find the following FLDOE quote to be interesting.. showing the emphasis of STEM within CTE.

Although STEM programs are not limited to Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, Florida’s Public Schools offer a variety of CTE programs that lead to industry certification in STEM related fields I hope I am not being unfair here... I think, along with New York's definition, Florida's and Maryland's and Bill Bertrand's submissions can help us all with this essential STEM Education discussion. For sure the T and E representatives can be the drivers with moving this discussion along.

Many thanks,

Chuck Goodwin
NYSTEEA Advisory Council Chair