Public perception of engineering recognizes its importance to national and international competitiveness, economy, quality of life, security, and other fundamental areas of impact; but uncertainty about engineering among the general public remains. Federal funding trends for education underscore many of the concerns regarding teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects in primary through grade 12 (P-12) education. Conflicting perspectives on the essential attributes that comprise the engineering design process results in a lack of coherent criteria against which teachers and administrators can measure the validity of a resource, or assess its strengths and weaknesses, or grasp incongruities among competing process models. The literature suggests two basic approaches for representing engineering design: a phase-based, life cycle-oriented approach; and an activity-based, cognitive approach. Although these approaches serve various teaching and functional goals in undergraduate and graduate engineering education, as well as in practice, they tend to exacerbate the gaps in P-12 engineering efforts, where appropriate learning objectives that connect meaningfully to engineering are poorly articulated or understood. In this article, we examine some fundamental problems that must be resolved if preengineering is to enter the P-12 curriculum with meaningful standards and is to be connected through learning outcomes, shared understanding of engineering design, and other vestiges to vertically link P-12 engineering with higher education and the practice of engineering. We also examine historical aspects, various pedagogies, and current issues pertaining to undergraduate and graduate engineering programs. As a case study, we hope to shed light on various kinds of interventions and outreach efforts to inform these efforts or at least provide some insight into major factors that shape and define the environment and cultures of the two institutions (including epistemic perspectives, institutional objectives, and political constraints) that are very different and can compromise collaborative efforts between the institutions of P-12 and higher education.