Today is National Teach Ag Day. This is a day to celebrate school-based agricultural education and to encourage agricultural education advocates, especially current agricultural educators (middle school, high school, post-secondary, pre-service programs, etc.) to share with others the great career opportunities in agricultural education.
Many of you are aware of the shortage of teachers, which has been affecting Nebraska, among other states, for the last several years. So in addition to saying thank you to our agriculture education teachers, I wanted to share a few facts from Matt Kreifels, Nebraska’s State Director of Agricultural Education, about the ag teacher supply and demand as it stands today.
Here’s the update he gave me:
- Nebraska schools posted 44 openings for teachers this last spring. Compare that to 21 openings in 2011.
- Nebraska has added 45 new agricultural education programs since 2010.
- Nebraska now has 14 schools that have two agricultural education teachers on faculty.
- UNL graduated 11 student teachers in the 2015-16 academic year with 100% teaching placements.
- UNL expects to graduate 10 student teachers for the 2016-17 school year.
- UNL is expecting between 25-30 UNL students completing their student teaching semester during the 2017-18 academic year.
While there are many factors contributing to the growth of agriculture education teachers as a profession, we attribute part of the growth to the National State Teach Ag Results (STAR) initiative. This was a program that Nebraska’s Team Ag Ed engaged with three years ago. It included a collaborative support for pre-service teachers to engage with current teachers in professional development, retention programs for teachers and Teach Ag internships. The Nebraska FFA Foundation and its partners have helped make this program possible and we are excited to see the successes of the initiative.