Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version

April 1991


Published in The Journal of Agricultural Education, volume 32 (1991), pages 34-39. Used by permission.
The Journal of Agricultural Education (JAE) is a publication of the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE). Its back issues are available online at


The need for change today is perhaps no greater than within the ranks of public programs in agricultural education. Technological advancements coupled with the need for even greater economic efficiency not only continues to encourage and force change, but suggests that the pressures for even better educational programs in agriculture will continue until change actually occurs or most importantly is actually perceived to occur.

Miller (1983), stated that “other teachers also often perceive our students (agricultural education) as the less talented and our instructional content as less than rigorous.” He further indicated that “our image with legislators is best characterized as politically naive. Legislators are much more likely to recognize the term FFA Advisor than teacher of Vocational Agriculture. Since most legislators come from and represent urban areas, they often perceive that the industry for which we are training is diminishing.”

In Michigan, Pritchard and Smarr (1983) studied the perceptions of education in general in Macomb County. They concluded that “among all county residents, 83 percent think the nation is risking the well being of its people because of educational shortcomings and 71 percent gave improvement in education a high or top priority.” In a study of teacher perception of secondary programs of agricultural education in Missouri, Birkenholz (1987) concluded that “agricultural education should monitor the environment in which vocational programs operate.” He further suggested that the programs must then be modified to meet these environmental conditions.