Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department



Bruce Burger

Date of this Version

Fall 8-1988


A THESIS Presented To The Faculty of the Graduate College in the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science Major: Agricultural Education Under the Supervision of Professor James T. Horner


As the capacity for rural communities -to provide education services decreases, educators are looking towards notate legislators for support. Jailed (1984) reported that legislators must become more familiar with vocational education as they address the economic and social needs of the future. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions held by Iowa and Nebraska Legislators regarding secondary and adult agricultural education programs conducted within the public school system. The population for this study consisted of state legislators in Iowa and Nebraska. Seventy legislators, thirty-five from each state, were randomly selected for the study. Legislators were mailed a survey containing twenty-two attitudinal statements relating to agricultural education. Legislators were asked to rate -the importance of the current situation and future direction of each statement. Comparisons were made between the different demographic groups of legislators. Cohen's Power Analysis was used to determine meaningful difference at a large effect size. Based on the data gathered, the following results were found. A meaningful difference was not observed between legislators' perceptions of the current situation and future direction of agricultural education. While agriculture and general education issues were perceived as being of relatively high importance in Iowa and Nebraska, agricultural education was perceived as being of lower importance. Legislators who had ties with agriculture were more supportive of issues relating to agricultural education. The role of the secondary vocational agriculture program was seen as being limited to rural high schools. Legislators seemed not to be familiar with the other aspects of agricultural education programs. Legislators were not supportive of any changes in the source of funding for educational programs. While they were supportive of the general funding of education, they did not support funding for agricultural education. The above findings indicated that changes in the amount of support from state legislators will not come from within. The agricultural education profession must initiate programs to increase legislator’s awareness of the needs and benefits of agricultural education.