Reducing the Attrition of Agricultural Education Teachers

Article excerpt

The profession is under pressure to expand the number of agricultural education programs in the United States. The National Council for Agricultural Education's 10 X 15 goal challenged the profession to have 10,000 agricultural science programs in place by the year 2015 (Team Ag Ed, n.d.). To meet this goal, the profession will have to generate over 2,500 additional certified agricultural education teachers.

Croasmun, Hampton, and Herrmann ( 1 999) found that teacher attrition was the largest factor determining the demand for teachers in the United States. Approximately 20% of all K- 12 teachers employed in 1994 were not in the same occupation 3 years later (Henke & Zahn, 2001).

It stands to reason that one way to increase the number of teachers in the profession is to reduce the number of teachers lost due to attrition. One way to reduce attrition is to provide support services for teachers during the critical first years of their career. There are a number of states that are providing innovative programming for their young teachers. Dr. Brad Greiman, Theme Editor, explored a number of these programs.

Bradley Leger shares the Louisiana Agriscience Education Induction Program (LAEIP). The program relies on building supportive relationships through a mentoring program between novice teachers and experienced agriscience teachers.

Wendy Nichols and Jim Scott share the concepts of the mentoring program established at the Tolles Career and technical Center in Plain City, Ohio. Their program is dependent upon the participation by all stakeholders in the school system.

Dr. Shane Robinson shares the attributes of the program developed by Oklahoma for its alternatively certified agriculture teachers. While these alternatively certified teachers have a unique set of circumstances, they share a common need with all teachers - prolonged, sustained professional development.

Ellen Thompson uses her position as Coordinator of the Teach Ag Campaign to reflect on ways the profession as a whole is providing support for agricultural education teachers. …