Programmatic balance in school based agricultural education
Frost, Keith J.
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There is an ongoing teacher shortage for positions in agricultural education programs. While some of the shortfall comes from new positions and retirements, the reality is many teachers are leaving the profession well before retirement. Much of the work on attrition has focused on the implications of work-life balance and how to manage it. This study takes the idea of balance one step further to look beyond work-life balance and into the balance of the programs themselves. Prior to examining programmatic balance or its sources, a hole in the literature dictated the first step serve to create an empirical definition. The first phase of this project utilized a modified Delphi study to identify components of a balanced program and create a consensus-based definition of the “programmatic balance”. The second phase utilized survey-based research methods to measure perceived and “ideal” levels of program components (classroom instruction, SAE, and FFA) and compare them using t-Tests and one-way ANOVAs. The third study in this project employed linear regression modeling to examine sources of program input. The Delphi study provided 18 statements that met consensus that were then used to generate a definition for peer review. Comparisons of perceived and ideal program element levels showed consistent, significant differences among respondents and between participating states. The linear regression model did reveal any significant factors influencing programmatic balance. This is likely due to the creating of summated variables of influencer components from individual variables. This project was one of the first in this line of question. The study provides significant results and a new series of questions to be addressed through continued research.