@abbylohman interesting point, I was actually unaware of the cuts being made to agricultural programs in schools. Would you care to post an article/video? I’d like to get some more info!
Agriculture is our nation’s largest employer, with 23 million job opportunities – and only less than 2% of those careers being in production agriculture.
When we are cutting agriculture programs out of US high schools and middle schools, how can we expect to get young people interested and involved in this important industry?
More importantly… who will be growing out food once our current generations of farmers retire?
I think agriculture programs are one of the most important programs a school can offer – they teach real life skills and expose students and young people to where there food comes from (NOT the grocery store!) as well as a great introduction to a very important job market.
By Julia Wotten
Yes, apparently music and art education are (and have been) getting cut from public schools nationwide since around 2007 as well.
I did not know that the same went for Agricultural programs, but to me it makes some sense.
Personally, I think that the schools panic (because in the end Math, Science, and English are much more important to teach children in order to be functioning working citizens in this country).
When the budget is cut, priorities are made. To me this is a sad reality.
Also on the topic of Agriculture and its importance/prevalence in our economy, I find it another sad reality that only 2 percent of the jobs in the field are related to production. But let’s look more at the way that our agriculture is being managed, from my understanding more by machinery and “head haunchos” than by individual, hard working American citizens.
@nina I am a family farmer. 98% of US dairy farms are family owned and operated. There is this big idea of “factory farming” going around and it just simply is not the case. The vast majority of US agriculture is still family businesses that have been passed down for generations
Are you familiar with the Common Core curriculum? It was developed by the National Board of Governors (not actual governors from states) and left out educators and parents for input. It is based on making students able to participate in a global economy. Its methods are group consensus not individual reasoning. If you go to YouTube and search for “Common Core unintended consequences,” you can see an example of one student doing homework in simple subtraction using traditional AND Common Core methods; it takes her 8 minutes to use Common Core methods and she comes up with the wrong answer; she then says she is not allowed to “stack numbers” the way we do subtraction now. She does the traditional method and gets the right answer.
In order to fully implement Common Core, schools will have to drop agriculture, music/arts, literature, and other education fundamentals in favor of learning how to read government documents and distorted history and “group think” math (will students be allowed to take tests in groups? NO!)
Common Core is an oncoming disaster that is not being reported on unless you are involved with your local and state education. It is expensive and unsuccessful (you can find staged lessons on YouTube that show ‘successful’ lessons but even then you will see students change their answers not because they understand their mistakes but because their answer didn’t agree with the rest of the class!).
Common Core is being implemented in public, private, charter, and homeschool environments, usually beginning with the next school year’s 6/7/8th grade classes. We need to stop Common Core or our children will not only be shut out from the arts, the job skills they need like agriculture, and sound reading/writing/math skills, but they will be trained not to function as individuals. I am a former public school educator and Common Core terrifies me.
Teachers’ unions support it because they get money for it; teachers do not because they will be evaluated on the success rate of students on national standardized tests. All school time will become devoted to ‘teaching to the test’ leaving no time for agriculture, arts, and individuality. Please look into Common Core and take action with your local school board and your state Department of Education. Some states are beginning to return the money they got and are passing laws to prevent the implementation of Common Core so they can retain the education system (which needs improvement, but this isn’t it!) and keep agriculture along with our other traditional class options for students.
When budgets get cut, priorities are made to “core” courses, which isn’t fair. But the private sector (businesses, corporations and individuals) can do something about it. Use crowdfunding to build in these until grants can be written. Donate to a nonprofit. Volunteer. Harness the power of the community to raise funds. There are groups out there taking care of this, we just need to support them. Groups like Bay Area Green Tours take students on field trips to sustainable urban and rural farms helping supplement their curriculum. Plus, field trips have been cut from budgets across the nation so supporting groups like this will help narrow the funding gap.
@abbylohman Can you please provide some factual evidence regarding that 98 percent? My readings tell me otherwise…
Family farm or not, according to the USDA “93% of soybeans and 86% of corn planted in the US in 2010 were GE.” This means the majority of non-organic processed foods on the grocery store shelf that contain either corn or soy products contain GMOs. Are the factory farming methods hidden behind the family names then?
Agriculture is one of the fastest growing employment markets, and kids need the opportunity to learn about it. Agriculture education is a key job investment strategy, we need to be teaching our children the skills for them to succeed in life. And with high demand for agriculture jobs doesn’t it seem ridiculous that we aren’t teaching kids valuable skills and knowledge for their future? The agriculture-food and agriculture-energy industry employs 25 percent of Michigan’s work force alone. We need to rethink this issue.
Aside from that…
I find this to be a very big problem. We eat every single day. We consume food which is affected by agriculture obviously all day every day and we don’t know the first thing about it. We need to learn about the things that affected our daily lives.
Are we really just so taken care of, that we consider it a waste of time to learn about the things that keep us alive? Is knowledge of agriculture considered unimportant?
This blows my mind. Every person should know the basics of feeding themselves. They might not be able to run a farm, but they should be able to grow a tomato. They may not want to but we should teach them how.
Also Terry, I just saw a discussion on here about common core with a great video explaining how horrible its going to be. Heres the link for you if you want it.
@abbylohman I thought you would think this story is interesting. It talks about how the organic food movement is pulling in and motivating a new generation of farmers. Thoughts?
Organic agriculture attracts a new generation of farmers – Los Angeles Times
If we can’t rely on education system to motivate people to become educated in agriculture maybe popular culture will do it?
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