The Pupil in the Rural School

Article excerpt

Pupils in rural schools need a developmental curriculum to meet personal, interest, and purpose motivations. Quality objectives, learning opportunitites, and appraisals procedures need to be in the offing.

Pupils in rural schools need to have an appropriate curriculum whereby they may individually achieve optimally. It no longer is that the rural population consists of farmers largely or only. There are small city and urban dwellers who with their families live In rural communities. Those who actually farm are very few In number, less than two per cent of the total population In the United States. Prices for farm products fluctuate much. As of this writing the farmer is the only one, basically, that is not benefiting from the somewhat positive employment picture in the United States. Indeed, the prices received for grain and livestock is based on depression amounts. It is rare if a farmer receives all of his Income from farming. Usually, the farmer makes enough money to stay on the family farm. He may also work In town to secure adequate income to feed and clothe his family. Farm wives may work in town to help keep the family farm and also to provide for necessities in life for the family.

In many ways, corporate farming has taken over. Near Kirksville, Missouri, Premium Standard Farms (PSF) has built a huge complex for the raising of hogs. The butcher hogs are raised from birth to processing size. The resulting meat is then available for selling to the consumer. Low prices for small pigs at birth or when being of butchering size is not a problem. Since PSF sells the packaged meats to the consumer. Local sales pavilions conducting weekly farm livestock consignments already say that there are very few pigs to sell each week, perhaps fifty in Kirksville, Missouri, whereas five years ago when many local farmers raised pigs, about four hundred were sold.

Laying hens have gone the corporate route twenty years ago. Today, almost no farmer even raises and keeps laying hens for the family's supply of eggs. It is cheaper to buy eggs than to raise and feed laying hens for egg production and family consumption. Presently, few laying houses are seen in operation on farms since an operator need's to keep about 15,000 layers to be competitive and make a living (Ediger, 1997, 188-190).

With grain process being exceedingly low too, perhaps, corporate grain farms will become increasingly popular and in evidence.

A Brief History of Farming

When growing up on a 160 acre farm near Inman, Kansas and during my high school years, my parents kept 300 laying hens, and we milked by hand seventeen dairy cows. We also raised to sell about fifty butcher hogs per year. Of the 160 acre farm, generally 110 acres was seeded to wheat, with the rest being seeded to produce feed crops such as alfalfa, oats, and barley for the milk cows, laying hens, and pigs. An approach such as this during my high school years of 1942-1946, was known as balanced farming. That name has long been discarded. No one lives on a farm of this size and if they do it is for sentimental reasons as well as to escape urban and smaller cities with their noise and bustle.

Farming then was a proud way of life. I took three years of Vocational Agriculture and was a member of Future Farmers of America (FFA). I took much pride in being the vice- president (1944-45 school year) and president (1945-46 school year) of the Inman, Kansas Rural High School FFA Chapter. I won a scholarship to Kansas State Agriculture College (now named Kansas State University) Manhattan, Kansas. Also, I was awarded the State Farmer Degree In FFA, given to two percent of the membership within the state. I also was third high in the state of Kansas in livestock judging in 1946. This contest was held at Kansas State Agricultural College, Manhattan. I prize these achievements highly In a truly agricultural community which it still is today with the many modifications described above. …

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