AEE 500 logo
NC State Logo

LessonGraphic of a Filing cabinet drawer Agricultural Education in Schools
Teacher at Chalk Board
"It isn't your Father's Oldsmobile anymore"

This was the advertising slogan for Oldsmobile several years ago to get across the idea that Oldsmobile had changed and was now building cars for the modern generation. In 1988, the National Research Council, in their report, "Understanding Agriculture: New Directions for Education," encouraged agricultural educators to revamp the curriculum to make it more scientific. The profession was also encouraged to expand the type of schools in which agricultural education was offered. The profession has moved rapidly in this direction. The old description of agricultural education, Sows, Cows and Plows could be restated today to be Cells, Gels and Dells. And the types of schools in which agriculture is taught may have also changed. 

In this lesson we will learn more about agricultural education today and the types of schools in which you might expect to find agricultural education. 

Learning Objectives:
Graphic of a Road Sign
Upon completion of this unit the learner should be able to:
 * Determine the mission for agricultural education in schools.
 * Accurately descibe agricultural education as it exists today.
 * Identify at least five types of schools in which agriculture is taught.
 * Describe the types of classes that are taught in agricultural education.
* Differentiate between comprehensive high schools, magnet programs, and vocational schools.
* Describe the facilities typically found in agricultural education programs.
*  How much do you know about agricultural education? Take the agricultural education pretest to find out.

*  The encyclopedia is a good place to start learning about agricultural education.  Read Gary Moore's article from the Encylopedia of Agricutural Sciences (Academic Press, 1994) titled "Education: Children and Youth."

*  Dr. Larry D. Case, Coordinator, Agricultural and Rural Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. describes agricultural education in The Agricultural Education Magazine article (Nov/Dec, 1998, Vol. 71 No. 3) titled What are the Purposes of Agricultural Education?

*  TECHniques is the official journal of the Association for Career and Technical Education. Read Tibbett Spear's article "Agricultural Education: A Bumper Crop of Students" in the March 1998 issue.

* Some folks think agricultural education is a thing of the past and we don't need it anymore.  Dr. Rosco Vaughn, Executive Director of the National Council for Agricultural Education explores this issue in the article Do We Still Need Agricultural Education? from The Agricultural Education Magazine (Jan/Feb 1999, Vol. 71 (4), pp. 4-5).

*  Let's go visit some schools where agriculture is taught. In class today we are going to take a Cyber Field Trip. Note: On a number of these web sites you will need to look for a link to the curriculum, program, academics, etc. in order to find the agriculture program..

  • The majority of the agriculture programs in the United States are found in Comprehensive High Schools. What is a comprehensive high school? First let's visit the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Maine. Do they offer any agricultural classes (Note: be sure to click on the forestry link)? Why do you think Comprehensive is in the name of this high school? Most comprehensive high schools don't have the name comprehensive in their title. 
  • Now let's drop in on the Elbert County Comprehensive High School in Georgia. What are the different areas of instruction in this school? Be sure to spend some time on the agricultural education site. What agricultural courses do they teach?
  • Suffield High School in Connecticut is a comprehensive high school but also serves as a regional school for agricultural studies. In the directory link on the left select class pages then agriculture, now explore some of the course offerings.
  • The Minneapolis Public Schools web site explains magnet programs.
  • It is time to visit a different type of program - a magnet program!  James Madison High School in Texas has an agriscience magnet program.
  • While some schools offer magnet programs, there are entire magnet high schools that focus on agriculture. W. B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences in Philadelphia is an example of such a school. 
  • In some states there are county wide vocational schools. This school can be located next to a high school or can be on a campus of its own. The Johnson County (TN) Vocational School is located on the high school campus. The head of the agriculture program has received national accolades for revamping the agriculture program. Check out their agricultural program to see what they are doing.
  • The Buckeye Career Center in New Philadelphia, OH is an example of a school that serves students from numerous feeder schools. Can you figure out how many feeder schools there are? What type of agriculture courses does this school offer?
  • Charter schools (independent public schools) are relatively new.  In Minnesota you will find the Agricultural and Food Sciences Academy.  (to learn more about charter schools go to
  • Chicago?? Visit the Chicago School of Agricultural Sciences, see if you can figure out what type of school this is. 
*What types of facilities are found in agricultural programs? Read Chapter 8 "Developing and Improving Facilities and Resources." in ther Handbook on Agricultural Education in Public Schools.
*  Agriculture teachers should strive to know what is going on in school. Read the following chapter from Teachers, Schools and Society (Sadker & Sadker)
  • 8th edition: Chapter 5 "Student life in schools and at home"

* This is not a required reading but "Understanding Agriculture: New Directions for Education" is completly on-line at This is a report of the National Academy of Science regarding where agricultural education should be heading in the late 1980s. You might want to see what was recommended and see if this matches your view of agricultural education today. You can also use this site and the one below as references for other AEE classes you might take.

image of a gift

Who says schools can't be funny?

stop icon
*  After you read the chapter in Teachers, Schools and Society go to the following site and see how much you learned.
Graphic of a sheet of paper and pencil
In this lesson, we have visited several types of schools that offer agriculture. Send an e-mail to the rest of the class and tell them, if you had a choice, which of the schools visited you would like to teach in and why.

Return to the Agricultural Education, Schools and Society Home Page