July 12, 2010 Illinois Education Board Cuts Ag Education
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) last week agreed to cut about $300 million from its budget, including the entire ag education line item.
“Ag education has done everything right — been accountable for every dollar,” said Jim Craft, Illinois FFA executive secretary. “We’re used as a role model (for other education programs), and then we get our legs cut out from under us.”
ISBE was forced to make budget cuts because it needed the money to access federal funding that supplements state education dollars for certain programs, such as career and technical education, said Matt Vanover, ISBE spokesman. Say What? Isn’t ag education the premiere career and technical educational component of most school systems?
The federal government requires states to not reduce spending on those programs to be eligible for federal funds, he explained. “We had to take money that was set aside for other purposes to meet the mandated federal (funding) effort,” Vanover said. Where were our federal legislators from agricultural states when this was discussed and why did they not make the point that the ag program is the leader in career and technical education in a field that has morphed into a high tech industry.
As Texans begin to review the 2012 budgets, we had best make sure legislators are aware of the importance of ag education and make the regulation changes to prevent this from becoming a reality here.