Lessons Learned

Article excerpt

'We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again - and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold stove-lid anymore."

- Mark Twain, 1835-1910

Words of Wisdom. What can we learn from those that have come before us as well as those we work alongside of? Our distinguished authors for this issue include a National FFA Advisor, Provosts, College Deans, teacher educators, agricultural education teachers and State Supervisors for Agricultural Education. Collectively these individuals represent over 250 years of experience, knowledge and wisdom.

Although agriculture and even agricultural education can be traced to the beginning of man, agricultural education as a discipline is still relatively new. The passage of the Smith-Hughes Act in 1917 ( a mere 90 years ago) saw the development of a national system of vocational education. Like any discipline, change was inevitable. The passage of new legislation mandated reform. Societal issues including a more industrialized nation, high inflation and an increased emphasis on academics required not only a hard look at where we were but at where we wanted to be.

In the 1980's, a National Assessment of the Cooperative Extension Service (Warner and Christiansen) concluded that this very important agency was at a crossroads. Their choices were to anticipate change and become an agent ofthat change, or to ignore what was happening and be dragged "kicking and screaming" into the future. …