My response to Professor Wilson is "Yes, of course we want domestically educated engineers!"
So how do we assure that we develop the talent we need? Just take a look at what Professor Wilson has to say:
A very high percentage of the U.S. professional science, technology, engineering, and mathematics personnel are foreign born and were given their K-12 mathematics education in their home country. If we want homegrown engineers, certain things have to take place in our K-12 mathematics education system.
If students arrive at college with large gaps in their science education they can survive, college will essentially start from scratch with science, however undesirable that may be. This is not the case with mathematics. The concepts and skills developed in every year of K-12 mathematics education are essential to success in college mathematics, mathematics that engineering students must all take. Manipulative skills with numbers and rational functions have been disparaged recently in education circles. However, the engineering student will face one class after another, year after year, where the professor comes in and writes equations on a blackboard for 50 minutes straight. Those manipulative skills must be second nature in order to survive an engineering course of instruction.
Those necessary skills and concepts for the engineering student begin with the foundation discussed in this paper in early elementary school. There is a tendency to suggest that most students do not need all of these skills because most students will not become engineers. Even if this were true, and many believe that all students actually need these skills and concepts even if they are not going to be engineers, we would be in a serious quandary. Would this mean that we should not teach them to all students? Students who don’t get these skills and concepts will definitely not become engineers. So, if we want some students to be able to be engineers we have to teach these skills and concepts to these students. Is there any way to decide who in the fourth grade should be given the mathematics that would allow them to grow up to have the option of becoming an engineer? Any attempt to separate elementary school children into two groups, one group that will never have the option of becoming an engineer and another group that will be given that option, would seem grossly unfair. All elementary school children should have the option of choosing to try to be an engineer, so all children must be given the necessary mathematics in elementary school.
So, what are the necessary mathematics that all elementary school children need, you may ask. Just take a look at what Professor Wilson has to say about the "Five Building Blocks" (Numbers, Place Value System, Whole Number Operations, Fractions & Decimals, Problem Solving) here.
Keeping the doors of opportunity open: PRICELESS.