President's Message: Every Association Member Needs to Take an Active Role in Improving the Condition of the Profession

Article excerpt

Greetings, and best wishes for a successful academic year. The intent of this message is to reflect upon issues and events that affected our association during the past twelve months and to delineate a course of action for the next twelve months.

The Year in Review

As our association celebrates its 70th anniversary, I am pleased to report that it has been well served by a dedicated Board of Directors, a devoted Executive Director, and a committed association staff during the last twelve months.

The Board of Directors framed a three-year strategic plan during the summer of 2008. President Len Litowitz is in the process of assembling a team to implement the plan. The board members are currently developing strategies and procedures to address membership growth, membership needs, new products for members, income initiatives, a "T and E in STEM" position statement, TIG guidelines, a leadership training program, and profession identity issues.

Pilot Technology Interest Groups (TIGS) were launched during the past year, and association listservs continue to grow in popularity. A "Green Technology" campaign was introduced during the past year. The Technology Education Advisory Council presented reports and recommendations to the Board of Directors in November on the topics of STEM, K-12 Engineering Education in the United States, and Technological Literacy Assessments. The EbD[TM] Consortium continues to grow and is now in nineteen states. The Salt Lake City Conference was a success, and preparation activities for the Louisville Conference remain on schedule. The preliminary planning process for the 2010 Charlotte Conference is underway.

In his 2008 President's Message, Len Litowitz cited data from a Phi Delta Kappan article that indicates a decline in K-12 technology education programs and technology education teacher preparation programs. The article indicated that the technology education profession has lost over 25,000 teachers during the past 25 years. These issues have not improved during the past twelve months and continue to be cause for concern for all technology educators.

Technology education continues to have an identity problem because of the public's confusion in understanding the differences between technology education, education technology, and information technology. Profession identification, program funding, increased academic graduation requirements, content philosophy, traditional certification vs. alternative certification, traditionally designed laboratories vs. modular laboratories, and commercially prepared curricula vs. district-designed curricula continue to segment the membership.

A Course of Action

There are actions that need to be taken over the next twelve months to ensure the future of technology education. These actions are intended to mitigate issues of concern that were not resolved during the previous twelve months. Many of the actions will require the collective efforts of all members of the association. Failure to take action is not a viable option. Suggested actions include:

* Eliminate the confusion created by the terms technology education, education technology, information technology, and technology. The association needs to resolve its identity issue by bringing clarity to the name and mission of the discipline. Technology educators should be able to define and describe the mission of technology education in two or three sentences and in under two minutes.

* Implement a plan and campaign to articulate the mission, features, and benefits of technology education to students, parents, educators, policy makers, the business community, organized labor, professional associations, and the general public. …