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1. The Problem of Secondary Agricultural Education,
In 1911, Robison concluded his comprehensive study
on agricultural instruction in the high school of the United
States with the statement: "Agriculture in the schools is a
(1) very unsettled and undeterminated thing". Without discounting the rapid progress made since, this conclusions holds true today, nor should we expect it to be otherwise; for arriculture
(3) is schools is a very new thing. Crosby stated in 1912 that:
" More than 2000 public high schools in the United States are now teaching agriculture; 16 years ago there was not one. *** This rapid growth *** has not been extended evenly over this sixteen-year period, but has been more marked in the last four years and most rapid in the last two years."
The latest available statistics are published in the 1912-13
(4) report of the Bureau of Education where the statement is made;
"According to the most reliable information obtainahle, there were about 2,300 high schools in the United States teaching agriculture in 1912-13. This indicates an increase of about 300 over the previous year. This number includes 47 State agricultural schools, 40 district arricultural schools, 67 county agricultural schools, 18 agricultural departments of high schools, and the remaining 2,198 ordinary schools giving courses in agriculture.
(5) Bricker, including the elementary schools, thinks that prepa
ration to teach agriculture "is now one of the chief conside
rations of no fewer than 100,000 teachers in the United States".
1, Robison. Agricultural instruction in high schools.
p.102. 2, The writer is not ignorant of the fact that agriculture as a school subject may ne traced back to Comenius. P cf. Some beginnings in education by means of agricultural subject matter, Bailey's Cyclopedia of Agriculture, v.4, 0.356-79.) Also thout attempts were made early in the last century.(for an excellent summary cf. Robison-Jenks. Agricultural instruction in high schools. p.7-10)
3, Crosby. Agriculture in public high schools. Yearbook 1912, p.471-82. 4, Bureau of Ed. Rot.1913, p.213-4. 5, Bricker, Agricultural education for teachers, P.52.
This sudden and rapid growth and the resulting demand
for teachers has created a serious, if not the most serious
problem in the training of teachers.
Something has to be
done to satisfy the public clamor for teachers to teach agri
The demand came when there was no supply of teachers.
Neither was any institution prepared to train the teachers.
Nobody knew what should be taught in secondary agriculture,
much less what qualifications the agricultural teacher should
have, and least of all, how to train them.
Colleges had to
do something, even if they had no plan of action.
The Causes of the rapid growth.
The nature of the demand for teachers will largely have
of agricultural teachers, we should know what is in back of
Is agriculture in high schools a fad which has
already reached the high water-mark, or is it à permanent
movement based on some real need?
Only a study of the causes
will give the answer to these questions.
There have been five main causes for the very rapid
growth of secondary agriculture. First, agriculture in the schools is an economic necessity.
. Fifty percent of our rapidly increasing population is urban. The supply of free land
has been exhausted, consequently we can no longer meet the
demands for a greater food supply by opening new lands to cul
Increased production in food most come from in
of the lands under cultivation.
have already exhausted our soil and our fields are bearing less.
We must either improve our methods of farming or starve.
1, Bricker. Agricultural education for teachers.