|What lies ahead for agricultural education and teachers of agriculture?
As I prepare for another year of teaching and reflect back on what has been a very busy
and rewarding year for me, one concern constantly resurfaces: "What does the
future really hold for agricultural education?"
Many visionaries in the
profession have spent countless hours the past couple of years developing a futuristic
plan for the profession. But, have we honestly assessed the current status and the future
of our very existence in the overall educational scheme entering the 21st Century? Are we
to remain a viable educational entity?
This past year the NAAE board of directors has been addressing key issues and making
important decisions that I believe will set the course for the years ahead. These issues
include a new organizational design, Center for Excellence for agricultural education, the
future of the NAAE/ACTE convention, and related issues such as the regional alignment of
all agricultural education organizations. I believe all of these issues are interrelated
and each decision made will impact the others. To gaze even further into our future
demands an introspective look into the past and a courageous evaluation of our mission and
Young teachers from coast to coast are looking to their leaders to design and ensure a
viable future for them. The hunger for agricultural education is apparent with ever
growing enrollments, but I question whether there will be adequate numbers of dedicated
teachers to meet our growing needs. Securing, preparing, and retaining caring teachers is
the number one goal throughout the profession. But, we have young practicing teachers in
the field asking the question, "Is there a future for us?" Those of us in
leadership roles in agricultural education must respond to these concerns. We must be
willing to make the tough decisions looking to the future totally committed to ensuring a
viable, creditable existence for agricultural education. If the young teachers of today
and tomorrow are to realize the success and satisfaction that I know is attainable in this
profession, we must provide the correct answers concerning leadership, advocacy, fiscal
responsibility, and integrity. Only then will we have "Created and Ensured the
Future of Agricultural Education."