Volume 47 - Number 1 - 2006 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2006.01078
In 1917, the Smith-Hughes Act encouraged the development of an agricultural education curriculum that spread innovative farming techniques throughout the nation. During the last half of the 20th century, however, many programs failed to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies. In a major study funded by the National Academy of Sciences (National Research Council, Board on Agriculture, Committee on Agricultural Education in Secondary Schools, 1988), much of the focus and content of many vocational agriculture programs was found to be outdated. The authors challenged the profession to broaden the relevance and scope of the agricultural education curriculum to better prepare students for the study of agriculture. One response to this challenge was to infuse more science and technology into the agricultural education curriculum. The purpose of this descriptive research study was to provide information on the attitudes and knowledge of biotechnology by agricultural education teachers in West Virginia. A major finding of the study was the agricultural education teachers possessed a positive attitude towards biotechnology, but lacked the resources and knowledge to incorporate the subject matter into their curriculum. Teachers perceive themselves with more knowledge on biotechnology topics traditionally associated with agriculture (animal reproduction, hybridization) and less knowledge on topics associated with other fields (environmental biotechnology, human genomics).