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The agricultural experiment stations have shown that
there is a permanent system of agriculture, the agricultural
colleges have demonstrated that better farming can be taught.
The big problem is to reach a sufficient number.
of the flood of bulletins, short courses and demonstration
work, only a small part of the farmers have been reached.
Besides, better farming will not come from mere information
of better methods of farming, for knowledge alone will not
change firmly fixed practices.
The gospel of better farming
will not spread, unless it is taught in the schools.
Secondly, the country life movement had much to do
with the growth of the movement.
The report of the Commission
forcibly directed the attention of the country to our rural
The periodical took up the matter and gave wide
publicity to the needs and the opportunities of the country.
Our magazines were filled with highly colored accounts of
the results of scientific agriculture, The result was that
ultimate $0 ientific agriculture was accepted as the only solution
of the rural problem,
The country life movement created
the social force which lead to the introduction of agricul
gested itself as a new tonic and wonders were expected from
(1) it. Bricker devoted a whole chapter to prove that agri
culture will meets the requirements of every aim of education
1, op. cit. Chap.9.
which has recently been advanced.
In short, agriculture
has become somewhat of a fad.
Fourthly, legislation has doubtless given the great
est stimulus to the growth of agriculture in schools.
teaching of agriculture has in some states been made compul
sory; more frequently state aid has been granted for agri
culture in high schools.
The development would have been
much slower if it had not been for this legislation.
cannot be denied that the supreme need of agricultural
instruction in schools fully warranted legislative aid,
nevertheless, a large part was the expression of "sheer pol
itical pull or demagogic ambition".
State-aid has not
always been for the best of agricultural education, for it
tempted school authorities to introduce agriculture in
their school before the felt the need of such instruction,
In many cases agriculture received as little attention as
it did in our land-grant colleges when these were first
The state-aid merely enabled schools to employ
an additional teacher at the expense of the state.
The same is true of the compulsory introduction
of agriculture. In general, there has less of this kind
(1) of legislation than of the other, i.e. state-aid. Fairchild
mit seems the merest nonsense for us to urge the legislature to pass laws compelling instruction in agriculture in elementary and high schools in the face of the fact that we lack teachers. The kind of instruction in these states where the teaching is made compulsory will be of such a poor quality as to bring discredit upon the whole movement, and it will be years to recover from it."
1. Fairchild. in Proc. A.A.A.C. 1914, p. 172. For a digest of the legislation on agricultural education see Indiana, Rpt of Comm. on Industrial and Agricultural education. 101?,
Finally, the causes which have made vocational edu
cation the most prominent question before the educational
world are likewise causes for the rapid growth of agricul
tural instruction in public schools, for agricultural educa
tion is one of the several phases of vacational education.
The demand for vocational education is partly explained by
the changed industrial conditions.
The direct cause, howeverm
may be found in the great increase in the number of high
schools, especially rural high schools, and in their attend
ance which has taken place during the past decade.
an expression of the American passion for universal education.
(1) But, as Davenport points out,"if we are to have universal
education, it must contain a large element of the vocational."
Our high schools have always been vocational, for
preparation for college was a part of the preparation for
the learned professions. But the majority are not preparing for college and will not enter the learned professions. The schools must change the work to make it vocational for the
class which now attend their courses.
Problems arising from the rapis growth.
Had the development of secondary agriculture been
less rapid, we should have had more time to discover what
teachers do not know what to teach and are hopelessly drift:
ing over the wide field and are teaching everything from "
pure science remotely related to agriculture to the purely
1, Davenport. Education for efficiency. p.14.