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Ag community effort keeps ‘agriculture’ in high school Career Technical Education

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proposal to remove the word “agriculture” from the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources education cluster used in Career Technical Education (CTE) is being taken off the table.

Advance CTE, the longest-standing national nonprofit representing State CTE directors, called for taking “agriculture” out of the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources education cluster definition and replacing it with a Food, Living Systems, and Natural Resources cluster.

The definitions influence how the Department of Education promotes career and technical education, first at the federal level through the Department of Education and at state levels as well.

The Advance CTE advisory board opened an online survey for public feedback on the proposal — prompting the agriculture community to give their feedback and advocate for retaining the current definition. The response? Overwhelming, to say the least. Advance CTE said it received more than 3,500 responses and 10,000 individual comments on the proposal, leading them to close the survey ahead of the original deadline for feedback.

After ending the survey, Advance CTE wrote in an online post, “At this time, we have decided to suspend the initiative to modernize the Framework and instead direct our efforts to leverage the input we received to guide the development of supports and resources that are forward- looking, focused on learner success and address existing limitations to the current Framework.”

The outcome is a significant win for agriculture education and shows Advance CTE is listening to the industry and doing what they set out to do, according to Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) High School and Collegiate Programs Specialist Katie Eisenberger

“We appreciate CTE reaching out for stakeholder feedback. This is a great example of the power of agriculture’s voice and how MFB members are able to make a positive impact to ensure that agriculture education remains strong, now and in the future.”

The National Career Clusters Framework serves as an organizing tool for CTE programs, curriculum design and instruction across the country.

“As we move forward, it’s going to be even more critical that we make sure the people who make the decisions understand where the agriculture industry is at,” Eisenberger added.

“It’s crucial to have a relationship with your local agriscience educator at the high school level, to sit on the CTE advisory boards, and to be ‘in the know’ because CTE programs have to have an advisory committee that is made up of industry members. You can make the difference.”

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