Will They Vote Agricultural Education off the Island?

By Thompson, Greg; Copa, George | The Agricultural Education Magazine, November/December 2000 | Go to article overview

Will They Vote Agricultural Education off the Island?


Thompson, Greg, Copa, George, The Agricultural Education Magazine


This summer on CBS, over 51 million people tuned in to watch the final episode of

"Survivor" to find out who would win the $1,000,000. The series featured sixteen castaways marooned on a remote tropical island in the South China Sea. They must band together to find food, water and shelter, and build a world themselves. Yet, each week they vote to expel one person off the island. The final episode of "Survivor" was watched around the world, "Survivor" theme parties were the fad, and the program received the second highest rating in CBS history. A recent visit to an agriculture classroom revealed even students got into the show. Upon being called for the answer to solve a problem, a student quipped, " If I get the answer right, will I be granted immunity?" The teacher joked, "No, but you may get voted off the island if you get it wrong."

Agricultural education has been involved in its own version of "Survivor" throughout its history. We have survived challenging times in our educational system and responded with a defined purpose and focus on the future. As we address trends and issues in agricultural education, it is important to reflect on the foundations that have kept us on the island. We must rely on the experience of our "survivors" to help guide us into the future and remind us of the premise that has kept us a strong and viable entity in the American educational system. Our educational leaders will continue to provide us with the vision and educational philosophy for understanding past decisions, which will help us understand the reasons for educational trends and issues today and give us the immunity for making the same mistakes in the future. At the same time, we look to our beginning educators to bring to the profession new ideas and a broadened mission to meet the needs of emerging technologies in a dynamic industry and changing society.

In the show "Survivor" an alliance was formed with others on the island to stick together and work toward a common goal. In agricultural education, we have formed alliances that have kept us strong through past educational reforms. In fact, we have won many immunity challenges because our programs have collaborated with business and industry, as well as other educators, to make ours a unique delivery system. Business, industry, and government must continue to support us in our endeavor to educate students, as they won't be successful in the future unless we are successful in educating their future employees.

Team AgEd is an alliance that will help prevent agricultural education from getting voted off the island. The Team AgEd concept should be embraced not only on the national level, but the state level as well. If teacher education, state supervision, and teachers are truly engaged to helping students and bettering agricultural education, we must work as a team. States with a strong agricultural education program have teachers, teacher educators, and state supervisors working together to move agricultural education in a positive direction. The health of agricultural education relies on commitment of effective people in leadership. Team AgEd is a positive move toward unity and strength that will help us survive on the island and meet the challenges that lie ahead. …

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