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Perceptions of Florida Secondary School Principals and Superintendents toward Agricultural Education

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042930/00001

Material Information

Title: Perceptions of Florida Secondary School Principals and Superintendents toward Agricultural Education
Physical Description: 1 online resource (128 p.)
Language: english
Creator: GENTRY,ADRIENNE N
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: AGRICULTURAL -- EDUCATION -- FFA -- PERCEPTIONS -- PRINCIPALS -- SCHOOL -- SECONDARY -- SUPERINTENDENTS
Agricultural Education and Communication -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: In American public schools, the bulk of financial decisions have been left up to local boards of education, local school superintendents, and individual school principals. Traditionally, superintendents have been the highest individual form of authority in a school system and principals have been considered the utmost leader in their schools. Agricultural education, which has been a part of the American public school system for many years, has been linked to student achievement in a variety of ways. The National Council for Agricultural Education?s Strategic Plan for Agriculture Education included a ?call to increase the number of quality agricultural education programs? around the nation. Currently, there is no data on how Florida decision makers perceive agricultural education programs and how their perceptions align with the values of principals and superintendents. Additionally, the relatively stagnant growth or decline in FFA Chapters around the country and in Florida is concerning. The purpose of the study was to determine the perceptions of secondary agricultural education programs held by Florida superintendents and secondary school principals. A quantitative study was used to gather Florida secondary school principals and superintendents? perceptions toward agricultural education programs. A questionnaire which was partially designed by the researcher was analyzed by a panel of experts before being distributed to the random sample of Florida principals and the census of Florida superintendents. The results of this study found that both Florida secondary school principals and superintendents have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Additionally, the presence of a local secondary agricultural education program influences the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals. Demographics had many influences on the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals and superintendents. A key finding of this study was the influence of student achievement on funding decisions that principals and superintendents make.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by ADRIENNE N GENTRY.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Myers, Brian E.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0042930:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042930/00001

Material Information

Title: Perceptions of Florida Secondary School Principals and Superintendents toward Agricultural Education
Physical Description: 1 online resource (128 p.)
Language: english
Creator: GENTRY,ADRIENNE N
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: AGRICULTURAL -- EDUCATION -- FFA -- PERCEPTIONS -- PRINCIPALS -- SCHOOL -- SECONDARY -- SUPERINTENDENTS
Agricultural Education and Communication -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: In American public schools, the bulk of financial decisions have been left up to local boards of education, local school superintendents, and individual school principals. Traditionally, superintendents have been the highest individual form of authority in a school system and principals have been considered the utmost leader in their schools. Agricultural education, which has been a part of the American public school system for many years, has been linked to student achievement in a variety of ways. The National Council for Agricultural Education?s Strategic Plan for Agriculture Education included a ?call to increase the number of quality agricultural education programs? around the nation. Currently, there is no data on how Florida decision makers perceive agricultural education programs and how their perceptions align with the values of principals and superintendents. Additionally, the relatively stagnant growth or decline in FFA Chapters around the country and in Florida is concerning. The purpose of the study was to determine the perceptions of secondary agricultural education programs held by Florida superintendents and secondary school principals. A quantitative study was used to gather Florida secondary school principals and superintendents? perceptions toward agricultural education programs. A questionnaire which was partially designed by the researcher was analyzed by a panel of experts before being distributed to the random sample of Florida principals and the census of Florida superintendents. The results of this study found that both Florida secondary school principals and superintendents have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Additionally, the presence of a local secondary agricultural education program influences the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals. Demographics had many influences on the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals and superintendents. A key finding of this study was the influence of student achievement on funding decisions that principals and superintendents make.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by ADRIENNE N GENTRY.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Myers, Brian E.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0042930:00001


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1 PERCEPTIONS OF FLORIDA SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND SUPERINTENDENTS TOWARD AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION By ADRIENNE NOLA GENTRY A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT O F THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011

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2 2011 Adrienne Nola Gentry

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3 In memory of Rudene Gentry, my Papa, for setting t he example of high expectations

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thank you to all the graduate s tudents in the Agricultural Education and Communication Department at the University of Florida and especially my office mates. Thank you to Andrea Andrews, Allison Britton, and Melissa Mazurkewicz for being the best sounding boards and encouragers in my Masters career. Thank you to my roommate, Blair Krusz, for making home a fun place to be and all the laughs along the way. Thank you to Kate Shoulders for answering my thousands of questions. Thank you to my adviso r, Dr. Brian Myers for helping me every step of the way and being very patient with my every question Thank you to my Committee Member, Dr. Jim Dyer for all your guidance and assistance throughout this process. Thank you to Dr. Ed Osborne for all the encouragement and advice. Thank you to my parents, Garry and Nola Gentry for being a sounding board and loving me. Also, thank you for making me realize my full potential when I doubted my abilities. Thank you to my Nana, Ida Gentry for all your support along the way and sending me home with fr esh grown food and Southern delicacies to remind me of home Thank you to Papa for instilling a love for agriculture within me and teaching me to appreciate the land, and education. Thank you to Heather Savelle for being the best friend in the entire worl d. God really knew what he was doing when he out us together many years ago. I look forward every day. I have truly cherished all of our experiences together from high school, to

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5 Thank you to Ian for putting up with m e, supporting me, and loving me. Thank you for helping me keep my priorities in line and keeping the big picture in mind. Thank you in advance for the life we will spend together. A love like ours can change the world. Thank you to all the people in my life who have loved me and let the light of Jesus Christ shine through your love and actions You made all the difference.

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 11 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 12 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 13 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 15 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 15 Superintendents ................................ ................................ ............................... 16 Principals ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 16 Continuous Change and Reform in Public Schools ................................ .......... 17 School Leader Decision Making, Values, and the Environment ....................... 18 Agricultural Education ................................ ................................ ...................... 21 Role of Agricultural Education in the Agricultural Industry ................................ 22 ................................ .............................. 23 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ....................... 25 Purpose and Ob jectives ................................ ................................ .......................... 26 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 27 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 27 Limitations and Assumptions of the Study ................................ .............................. 28 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 29 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 31 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 31 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ ........................... 32 Conceptual Model ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 35 Previous Research ................................ ................................ ................................ 36 Administrator Variables ................................ ................................ .................... 36 Basic demographics ................................ ................................ ................... 37 Agriculture and agricultural education experience ................................ ..... 38 Academic background ................................ ................................ ............... 40 School Variables ................................ ................................ .............................. 40 Size ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 40 Location ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 41 School status ................................ ................................ ............................. 42 Agricultural Education Program Variables ................................ ........................ 43

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7 FFA chapter ................................ ................................ ............................... 43 Students ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 43 Academic integration ................................ ................................ ................. 45 Agricultural educators ................................ ................................ ................ 46 Other Elective Courses ................................ ................................ ..................... 47 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 49 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 51 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 51 Procedures ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 52 Population and Sample ................................ ................................ ........................... 53 Instrument ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 54 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 55 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 56 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 57 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 57 Response Rate, Non response, and Reliability ................................ ...................... 58 Objective 1: Determine the Perceptions of Florida Public School Superintendents to ward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs. ......... 59 Objective 2: Determine the Perceptions of Florida Public School Principals toward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs. ................................ .... 6 0 Objective 3: Compare the Perceptions of Florida Public School Superintendents and Principals toward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 60 Objective 4: Determine the Influence of the Presence of a Local Secondary Agricultural Education Program on the Perceptions of Principals. ................ 61 Objective 5: Examine the Relationships be tween Demographic Characteristics and Views toward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs as Reported by Principals and Superintendents. .......................... 62 Objective 6: Understand the Items that Florida P rincipals and Superintendents Take into Consideration when Making Program Funding Decisions. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 81 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 83 5 CONCLUSIONS AND REC OMMENDATIONS ................................ ....................... 85 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 85 Purpose and Objectives ................................ ................................ ................... 85 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 85 Summary of Findings ................................ ................................ .............................. 86 Objective 1: Determine the Perceptions of Florida Public School Superintendents toward Secondary Agricu ltural Education Programs. ......... 86 Objective 2: Determine the Perceptions of Florida Public School Principals toward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs. ................................ .... 86

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8 Objective 3: Compare the Perceptions of Florida Public School Superintendents and Principals toward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 87 Objective 4: De termine the Influence of the Presence of a Local Secondary Agricultural Education Program on the Perceptions of Principals. ................ 87 Objective 5: Examine the Relationships between Demographic Charac teristics and Views toward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs as Reported by Principals and Superintendents. .......................... 87 Principals ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 87 Superintendents ................................ ................................ ......................... 90 Objective 6: Understand the Items that Florida Principals and Superintendents Take Into Consideration When Making Program Funding Decisions. ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 91 Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 91 Discussion and Implications ................................ ................................ .................... 93 Recommendations ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 99 Recommendations for Practice ................................ ................................ ........ 99 Recommendations for Further Inquiry ................................ ............................ 106 APPENDIX A IR B APPROVAL ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 108 B LETTER TO PARTICIPANTS ................................ ................................ ............... 111 C INSTRUMENT ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 114 LIS T OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 120 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 128

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9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Post hoc r ............................... 55 3 2 Post ................................ ......... 55 4 1 T tes ts comparing early and late superintendent respondents on online questionnaires ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 59 4 2 Superintendent descriptive statistics of four constructs ................................ ...... 59 4 3 ................................ .............. 60 4 4 Summary of ANOVA measures for principal and superintendent perceptions of four constructs ................................ ................................ ................................ 60 4 5 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals with and without agricultural education programs at their school ................................ ................................ ..... 61 4 6 Summary of Means for princ ipals at schools with and without agricultural education programs ................................ ................................ ............................ 62 4 7 Summary of ANOVA measures for the subjects taught by principals prior to going into administration ................................ ................................ ..................... 64 4 8 Summary of Means for the subjects taught by principals prior to going into administration ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 64 4 9 Summary of Means for principal perceptions b ased on school size ................... 65 4 10 Summary of ANOVA measures for principal perceptions based on the racial breakdown of the school ................................ ................................ ..................... 66 4 11 Summary of Means for principal perceptions based on the racial breakdown of the school ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 67 4 12 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals who had and had not taken an agricultural education class ................................ ................................ ................ 68 4 13 Summary of Means of principals who had and had not taken an agricultural education class ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 68 4 14 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals whose child had or had not taken an agricultural education class ................................ ................................ .. 69 4 15 Summary of Means for principals whose child had or had not taken an agricultural education clas s ................................ ................................ ................ 70

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10 4 16 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals who had and did not have work experience in the field of agriculture ................................ ................................ ... 70 4 17 Summary of Means for principals who had and did not have work experience in the field of agriculture ................................ ................................ ..................... 71 4 18 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals who had and had not been at a school where a new agricultural education program was started ....................... 72 4 19 Summary of Means for principals who had and had not been at a school where a new agricultural education program was started ................................ ... 72 4 20 Summary of ANOVA measures for perceptions of principals based on the geographic region of the school ................................ ................................ .......... 73 4 21 Summary of Means for perceptions of principals based on the geographic region of the school ................................ ................................ ............................ 73 4 22 Summary of ANOVA measures for perceptions of principals whose schools did and did not make AYP ................................ ................................ .................. 75 4 23 Summary of Means for perceptions of principals whose schools did and did not make AYP ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 75 4 24 Summary of Means for whether the superintend ent was elected or appointed .. 76 4 25 Summary of Means for gender of superintendents ................................ ............. 77 4 26 Summary of means for the subject tau ght prior to going into administration ...... 77 4 27 Summary of means of whether or not the Superintendent had taken an agricultural education course when in high school ................................ ............. 78 4 28 agricultural education class in high school ................................ ......................... 79 4 29 Summary of means for whethe r the superintendent had work experience in the field of agriculture ................................ ................................ ......................... 80 4 30 Summary of means for if an agricultural education program had ever been started in their school district. ................................ ................................ ............. 80 4 31 Summary of means for if an agricultural education program had ever been discontinued in their school system. ................................ ................................ ... 81

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11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 behaviors. (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). ................................ ................................ .. 33 2 2 Progression of p rincipals and superintendents values and perceptions on the number of agricultural education programs. ................................ ....................... 35

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12 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S AYP Annual Yearly Progress CTE Career and Technical Education FFA Formerly known as the Futu re Farmers of America. Now known as the National FFA Organization. NCLB No Child Left Behind SAE Supervised Agricultural Experience

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13 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment o f the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science PERCEPTIONS OF FLORIDA SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND SUPERINTENDENTS TOWARD AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION By Adrienne Nola Gentry May 2011 Chair: Brian E. Myers Major: Agricultural Education and Communi cation In American public schools, the bulk of financial decisions have been left up to local boards of education, local school superintendents, and individual school principals Traditionally, superintendents have been the highest individual form of au thority in a school system and principals have been considered the utmost leader in their schools Agricultural education which has been a part of the American public school system for many years, has been linked to student achievement in a variety of wa ys The National Strategic Plan for Agriculture Education included a nation Currently, there is no data on how Florida decision make rs perceive agricultural education programs and how their perceptions align with the values of principals and superintendents. Additionally, the relati vely stagnant growth or decline in FFA Chapters around the country and in Florida is concerning The pu rpose of the study was to determine the perceptions of secondary agricultural education programs held by Florida superintendents and secondary school principals. A quantitative study was used to gather Florida secondary school principals and superintenden

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14 questionnaire which was partially designed by the researcher was analyzed by a panel of experts before being distributed to the random sample of Florida principals and the census of Florida superin tendents. The results of this study found that both Florida secondary school principals and superintendents have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Additionally, the presence of a local secondary agricultural education program influe nces the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals. Demographics had many influences on the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals and superintendents. A key finding of this study was the influence of student achievement on funding d ecisions that principals and superintendents make.

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15 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Overview The public school system in the United States is a highly complex system that serves students from pre kindergarten to twelfth grade (Structure of U.S. Education, 2008). Every state has a state board of education that along with the state school superintendent or commissioner controls the state wide decisions (Structure of U.S. Education, 2008). State boards of education have made decisions about the academic expectations term goals for the entire state, and have made rules and regulations for schools to follow (A Guide to Decision Making in Schools, 2010). Although boards of education have controlled rules and regulations, the cost of funding public schools has been largely the burden of the local taxpayer in local counties or local school districts (Structure of U.S. Education, 2008). With 90% of funding coming from local sources, the majority of financial decisions have been left up to local boards of education, local school superintendents, and individual school principals (Structure of U.S. Education, 2008; A Guide to Decision Making in Schools, 2010). The local board of education adopts the system wide budget and helps dev elop overall budgets for individual schools in the system (A Guide to Decision Making in Schools, 2010). Local boards of education have also been charged with the hiring or approving the hiring of the district superintendent and principals as well as all teachers at individual schools within the school district (A Guide to Decision Making in Schools, 2010).

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16 Superintendents Traditionally, superintendents have been the highest individual form of authority in a school system (Pavelock, Ullrich, Janagriff, & Baer, 2001) and have been known as the chief executive officer of a school system (A Guide to Decision Making in Schools, 2010). Superintendents have helped administer budgets, have aided in deciding on the hiring or non renewal of teachers and other per sonnel, and have served as the direct line of communication between a school system and the community (A Guide to Decision Making in Schools, 2010). Another job of superintendents has been to motivate principals, who then motivate teachers (Konnert & Auge nstein, 1995). Pavelock and Ullrich, et al. (2001) stated that the success of all school programs is of authority that they have by proving themselves as successful cl assroom teachers and principals (Carlson, 1961). Therefore, their expectations of their employees have been high. Additionally, in Florida, superintendents are either elected by tax payers in their counties or appointed by the local school board. Princi pals Principals have been considered the utmost leader in their schools (Hallinger, (p. 56) schools, they look to the principal as a 56). Overall and continuous school improvement has been a pressure that has been put upon all principals, and making funding decisions that align with student learning

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17 role has been a balance between a manager and a leader (Portin, Shen, & Williams, 1998). As leaders, principals have improved school programs, have inspired staff to take part in a vision for the school, and have built relationships between the school as a most important job has been controlling the budget, followed by dealing with di scipline problems and complying with all educational policies set forth by state and federal legislation Principals have felt the challenge to comply with increasingly stringent state and federal policies and reforms and have been forced to make hard de cisions at times (Portin, Shen, & Williams, 1998). Portin, Shen, and Williams (1998) stated that because rs in schools, principals have been charged with focusing their staff on improving student achievement (Hallinger, 1992). Continuous Change and Reform in Public Schools Public education has entered a new accountability movement due to public concern regard ing the effectiveness of U.S. public schools (Braden & Tayrose, 2007). Superintendents and principals have been responsible for overseeing accountability measures put forth by federal legislation (Portin, Shen, & Williams, 1998). The accountability movem ent focuses on educational outcomes instead of providing equal opportunities for education which was the primary focus of the past (Braden & Tayrose, 2007). Thus President George H. Bush initiated the 1988 Education Summit which developed goals for educa tion that measured how studen ts performed on tests. In 1988, schools had no common goals or vision for standards of student achievement (Braden & Tayrose, 2007). School leaders were directed to align the goals and vision

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18 set forth by federal legislation to get all teachers and students involved, heading in the same direction (Portin, Shen, & Williams, 1998). In 2001, President George W. Bush signed a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 which was renamed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act ( 2002 ). The main objective of NCLB was to hold local school districts accou ntable for student achievement NCLB has set specific objectives for schools and these objectives have been monitored b y Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) If AYP h as not been reached for two years in a row, sanctions against the school begin ( NCLB, 2002 ). In 2004, reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Act began including students with disabilities in the accountability measures held to schools (Brade n & Tayrose, 2007). All of these changes have placed increased pressures on school decision makers to comply with all rules. The public school system has been an ever changing environment. Federal and state mandates have continued to place pressure on schools to promote higher student achievement (Braden & Tayrose, 2007). The primary pressure to uphold these mandates have been placed on the superintendents and principals (Voorhis & Sheldon, 2004.) These school leaders must make decisions on a daily ba sis to promote student achievement and remain compliant with the mandates as well as stay true to their value system. School Leader Decision Making, Values, and the Environment School decision makers have been faced with making difficult decisions at tim es. These decisions have been based on a variety of information sources, but in general had an effect on student achievement (Eberts & Stone, 1988; Rayfield & Wilson, 2009). There have been direct and indirect effects of principals leadership and perceptions on

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19 values, perceptions, and support of certain programs have been influenced by many different effects of the outside environment. Although student achievement has been the most common goal among school decision makers (Frick, 2009), many administrators agree d that teaching should be emphasized more than the test (Herbert, 2010). Deborah Kenny, principal of Harlem Village Academies in New York claimed that more important than test scores, she desired for the students of her school to be of high character, com passionate, and independent thinkers who live significant lives (Herbert, 2010). The values of administrators have been determined by a number of things including their past experiences (Pavelock, Vaughn, & Kieth, 2001) as well as the goals that they have developed over time for their schools (Frick, 2009). In addition to personal values, administrators are under pressure to heed the values of those in their communities Superintendents have tended to be hired for their vision for school systems and idea s regarding curriculum yet fired for their decisions regarding finances (Bredeson, 1995). Although they have been hired for very different reasons, superintendents have reported spending a vast majority of their time dealing with budgetary concerns and ha ve considered fiscal maintenance to b e their top administrative job Additionally, superintendents have been especially susceptible to political forces (Bredeson, 1995). by political pressures, high public visibility, unstable school finances, and greater

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20 external controls exerted through court rulings, legislation, and state department of Superintendents have been perceived to have positiona l power and be influential in their communities (Owen, 1998). Superintendents have often been dependent on communities to communicate their values regarding educ ation and educational programs Because superintendents have been forced to be political throu gh their community interactions, they must please the greatest number of people (Owen, 199 8 ). Just as superintendents have been influenced by the outside environment, principals have also felt this pressure. When principals have made decisions regarding funding and program cuts, the programs that support student achievement have been the programs that stick around, claimed Jason Leahy of the Illinois Principals Association (2010, personal communication). Mr. Leahy stated that the culture and values of th e school and community have been one of the largest determining factors when deciding which programs will be cut in tough economic times. As pressures from the outside environment continue to place stress and extremely high standards on superintendents and principals, the problem of turnover among administrators has arisen. The mobility of administrators has caused teachers, policymakers, and community members concern over the large tur nover of school administrators. Some have argued that administrator s relocate frequently due to the rigorous and sometimes unattainable accountability measures put in place to demonstrate school improvement (Gates, Ringel, Santibanez, Guarino, Ghosh Dastidar, & Brown, 2005). This has been a particular area of concern whe n attempting to prove the merit of an educational program. Teachers attempting to build relationships with

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21 decision makers may have been at a disadvantage, due to the mobility of administrators (Gates, et. al., 2005). Although state boards of education h ave been the force behind state wide curriculum decisions, local decision makers have a say in curriculum development and strategy. Superintendents and principals have made decisions regarding curriculum taught in their school systems and schools. Agricul tural Education Agriculture has been a part of the United States public school system for many years, but only received federal funding in 1917 when the Smith Hughes Act was passed in Congress. This legislation provided funding for high school courses tha t taught vocational agriculture ( Smith Hughes National Vocational Education Act of 1917 ). Agricultural education has been linked to student achievement in a variety of ways, including the way in which curriculum has been administered, through Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs, and student involvement in the National FFA Organization (Cheek, Arrington, Carter, & Randell, 1994). The agricultural education model has promoted experiential learning and hands on experience through laboratory ac tivities and regular instruction. Agricultural education has also been said to boost understanding of science because of the applied, hands on nature of instruction (Dyer & Osborne, 1999). Experiential learning has also been encouraged through out of sch ool projects known as SAEs. In addition, FFA has been an intracurricular part of the agricultural education model. Leadership development has been taught through involvement in the FFA. With high stakes testing focusing on areas such as science

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22 (Braden (Wesch, 2008, p.13) to facilitate student achievement Agricultural education courses have been classified in the United States public school system as Career and Technical Educati on courses. Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses have been offered in middle school, high school, as well as at technical centers around the state of Florida (Florida CTE State Profile, 2010). The goal of CTE courses has been to prepare students for a great variety of careers and to provide experiences in both school and work settings (What is Career and Technical and gain hands Education, 2010). Many have argued that when CTE courses are coupled with decreasing drop out rates (Plank, 2001). Combining a mix of academic course load with CTE courses has provided the most options for students upon graduating from high school. This track has allowed for the most options including college, technical schoo l, or the workforce (Plank, 2001). In addition, students who plan on attending college have gained important skills from CTE courses that may lead them to higher achievement in academic areas because of the practical applications gained in CTE courses (Pl ank, 2001). Role of Agricultural Education in the Agricultural Industry The American Farm Bureau (2009) reported that over 21 million people are employed in some sector of agriculture, making the agricultural industry the United employer. With 15% of the population depending on agriculture

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23 for work, agriculture has been an essential sector of the U.S. economy. To provide enough people to maintain the massive agricultural workforce in America, agricultural education in public sch ools is needed. As the general public becomes more attentive of agricultural issues (Blandford & Fulponi, 1999), there has been an outcry for well educated agriculturalists, citizens, and policy makers (National Council for Agricultural Education, 2007; Wright, Stewart, & Birkenholz, 1994). Agricultural education can provide the education needed to support well educated agriculturalists as well as well informed citizens. The National Research to be taught only to the Agriculture has played a vital societal role in providing a safe domestic food to not have agricultural education as a part of the public school system to ensure an educated workforce can continue the wellbeing of the agricultural industry (Martin, 1991). dramatic rates. Bouvier & Stein (2001) W hat impact has urban sprawl due to major population increases, had on support for agricultural education programs in Florida? If superintendents and principals have made budgetary decisions based on the values and culture of the community in which they live, has urban sprawl and the degradation of farmland changed the values and culture of communities in Florida? Florida is a rest of the country can expect ( MacManus, 2009 ). MacManus (2009) stated that Florida

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24 image of the nation, which is why it continues to be in t The South has been characterized as the most economically disadvantaged area of the United States (Mulkey, 1993). Mulkey (1993) stated in Education in the Rural South: Policy Issues and Research Needs ered the primary vehicle importance of a skilled workforce who is educated in a way that can contribute to the Per pupil spending in the South has been lower than the national average (Mulkey, 1993). In 2005 2006, Florida ranked 41 st in per pupil spending as reported by the EPE Research Center ( Mitani, pupil spending be ing among the worst in the nation, now is a critical time to make sure additional opportunities are not taken away from students in Florida by ensuring the continuation of agricultural education programs. A potential issue for agricultural educators is tha t there is currently no standardized test that can prove the merit and effectiveness of the agricultural educator similar to tests used in science or English (Leahy, J. personal communication, May 26, 2010). Mr. Leahy claimed that cutting extracurricular a ctivities such as sports or other extracurricular programs does not save the school money; cutting staff will save the school the most money. The risk to programs has been when a principal decides to lay off the teacher of the program to meet budget requi rements (Leahy, J. personal communication, May 26, 2010).

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25 Statement of the Problem Strategic Plan for Agriculture Education programs of the agricultural industry are met (National Council for Agricultural Education, 2007). The Strategic Plan also makes a call to include all stakeholders involved, including pr incipals, superintendents, and other leaders within the school system (National Kal me and Dyer noted that Iowa principals had fairly positive perceptions of agricultural education programs, but do Florida superintendents and principals feel the same way? At this time, it is unclear what principals and superintendents value. Because of this, agricultural education has not explicitly tried to align agricultural education programs with these values. This study ascertains these values. The problem being investigated by this study was that there is no data on how Florida decision makers p erceive agricultural education programs and how their perceptions align with the values of principals and superintendents. Additionally, the relati vely stagnant growth or decline in FFA Chapters around the country and in Florida is concerning Nationally there are 7,487 schools with FFA Chapters or only a net increase of 175 additional chapters since 2000 (National FFA Organization, 2011) However, this number leaves 30,743 schools 80% of all schools around the nation without agricultural education programs (National Council for Agricultural Education, 2007) In Florida, there has been a decline in the number of FFA Chapters from 2000 to 2010; In 2000, there were 324 FFA Chapters, in 2005 there were 330 FFA Chapter, and

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26 in 2010 there were 286 FFA Ch apters in Florida (Simmons, R. personal communication, January 25, 2011). As budget cuts continue to affect education across the board (Lav & Hudgins, 2008; Portin, Shen, & Williams, 1998), now is a critical time to generate and maintain support for a gricultural education programs. Recently, various agricultural education programs across the country have experienced major cuts, forcing some programs to make major changes and face potential closures (Grimes, 2010; McCarthy, 2010; Martin, 2010). With e conomic struggles being at the forefront of current issues, it is essential that agricultural education programs in Florida ensure their support systems. Purpose and Objectives The purpose of the study was to determine the perceptions of secondary agricult ural education programs held by Florida superintendents and secondary school principals. The objectives of this study were to: 1. Determine the perceptions of Florida public school superintendents toward secondary agricultural education programs. 2. D etermine the perceptions of Florida public secondary school principals toward secondary agricultural education programs. 3. Compare the perceptions of Florida public school superintendents and principals toward secondary agricultural education programs. 4. Determine the influence of the presence of a local secondary agricultural education program on the perceptions of principals. 5. Examine the relationships between demographic characteristics and views toward secondary agricultural education program s as reported by principals and superintendents. 6. Understand the items that Florida principals and superintendents take into consideration when making program funding decisions.

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27 Significance of the Study In the absence of a national curriculum, agricul tural education remains largely a state and locally defined program. The outcome of this study will provide Florida agricultural educators with a better understanding of how principals and superintendents perceive agricultural education programs. It will also provide a better understanding of programs in some schools. Analyzing the perceived support of agricultural education can help the profession focus on the areas in whi ch administrators view as important and improve the areas that they perceive have less value. This can enable agricultural educators to improve programs to improve support. Agricultural education programs can use this knowledge when revising and planning programs. Having this knowledge will lead to better teacher to administrator relationships. The evaluation of perceptions of agricultural education programs can help agricultural education highlight how they can contribute to the areas that principals a nd superintendents value when making decisions. In addition, there is a gap in knowledge from the late 1990s regarding perceptions of agricultural education programs, and no such study has been conducted in the State of Florida. Understanding the percept ions of Florida decision makers can be indicative of perceptions of decision makers in other states. Kalme and Dyer recommended the evaluation of perceptions of principals with and without agricultural education programs to determine if lack of administra tor support contributed to the school not having an agriculture program (2000). Definition of Terms A DMINISTRATOR a leader and decision maker in a school system. This term applies to both superintendents as well as building level leaders such as princip als and vice principals.

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28 A GRICULTURAL E DUCATION T EACHERS teachers at the secondary level who teach agriculturally related curricula and serve as FFA Advisors. A TTITUDE disposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable ma In this study attitude is defined as a way of feeling or thinking about an object and measured by a response to a likert type questionnaire. C AREER AND T ECHNICAL E DUCATION (CTE) course s that are intended to prepare schools, and technical centers (What is Career and Technical Education?, 2010, para. 1). FFA icultural education programs at H IGH /S ECONDARY S CHOOL grades 9 12. P ERCEPTION the process that people go through to interpret sensation to form a meaningful view or conceptualization of their environment (Linds ay & Norman, 1977). In this study perceptions were defined as a belief or attitude about a subject or object. P RINCIPAL the utmost leaders in a school and head building administrator. (Hallinger, 1992). S UPERINTENDENT a public schools distri and chief executive officer of a school system (Pavelock, Vaugh, & Kieth, 2001, p. 471). Limitations and Assumptions of the Study The limitations of this study included issues with response rate and the sample type. Principals and su perintendents are very busy people and may overlook or not understand the importance of completing the questionnaire. All measures to promote a higher response rate were taken. Another limitation is the sample type being used. Because the sample is stri ctly from the state of Florida, generalizability will be lowered. Additionally, some responses on questionnaires may be influenced by the quality of the local agricultural education program. Higher quality programs may elicit more positive responses from principals and superintendents versus lower quality programs.

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29 Another limitation of this study involved locating the verified and exact number of agricultural education programs in the state of Florida. Despite exhausting all options, the exact number of programs could not be located. The numbers used in this study were based on FFA Chapters. Although there should be a close overlap of the number of FFA Chapters and the number of agricultural education programs, this overlap is not exact. The assumptio ns of this study are that all respondents answered honestly and put forth genuine effort into answering the questions. Another assumption was that the respondents had a general knowledge of agricultural education programs. Summary The public school syste m is a highly complex system in which the power falls on local school boards, superintendents, and principals. Superintendents have been a alignment of school system val ues with school decisions. Principals have been key leaders and managers in a school system and have served the role of making daily decisions and promoting student achievement. Educational reforms have placed pressure upon school decision makers making their jobs even more difficult. Principals and superintendents have been responsible for making sure the school and school system is aligned with state and federal mandates. However, they have also been influenced by the outside environment and must keep the most people happy. This task has caused administrator turnover to be a significant issue. Secondary agricultural education promotes student achievement and is an essential part of the school system. Agricultural education has a duty to ensure the p rosperity of the United States

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30 agricultural industry by preparing a well educated workforce, consumers, and policy makers. Changing population trends and funding crises have created a messy situation for education, and now is the critical time to ensure F support system. The problem being investigated by this study was the stagnant growth of agricultural education nationally, as well as in Florida. In addition, because superintendents and principals make decisions regarding program continuation, determining the perceptions of school decision makers to ensure their values align with

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31 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Overview Principals and su perintendents make decisions regarding the curriculum being taught at schools. Because of this, perceptions of school decision makers have been sought after in several studies. The knowledge gained from these studies has helped the agricultural education community determine its stance in public education. These studies have also attempted to determine the influence of reform of agricultural education programs on the perceptions of decision makers. However, no studies have been conducted on the direct pe rceptions of principals and superintendents in recent years and no studies have been conducted in the State of Florida regarding the perceptions of school decision makers on agricultural education. Administrators have great control over curriculum decisi ons and can be the deciding factor as to whether a school does or does not have an agricultural education program. Even when support is demonstrated by others in the community, such as local businesses, parents, and educational supporters, administrators ultimately have the final decision in whether schools have agricultural education programs. This was shown by a study of Kansas school districts that did not have agricultural education programs. Although support was shown by residents in the community a s well as by agribusiness leaders, the study demonstrated that the administrators did not want agricultural education programs, and therefore did not have them (Parmley, 1982). This was a true sign of the power that administrators have regarding curriculu m decisions in their schools.

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32 Past studies on the perceptions of administrators regarding agricultural education have revealed a fairly positive view of agricultural education (Pavelock, Ullrich, Hanagriff, & Baer, 2003; Pavelock, Vaughn, and Kieth, 2001 ; Kalme & Dyer, 2000; Johnson & Newman, 1993; Price, 1990; Jewell, 1989). Other studies have ascertained the perceptions of school administrators toward vocational education. In these studies, vocational education was perceived to be a positive program i n public schools (Huh, 1991; Barnett, 198 4 ; Miller, 1981). Theoretical Framework attitudes toward a program, subject, or another behavior (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) contended that if a person has a positive attitude toward a program, subject, or behavior, they will view the program, subject, or behavior with positive a could be measured, then their behavior could be explained and predicted. Fishbein and n of his attitude t Therefore, if a superintendent or principal has had positive beliefs and attitudes regarding agricultural education, positive behavior in the form of support can be expected. Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) contended that beliefs and attitudes are often formed by direct observation or experience with a subject. If an individual has little experience or direct observation with a subject, their beliefs and attitudes are determined by inference

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33 processes (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). These inference processes vary but could be derived from word of mouth or o ther sources which may or may not be reliable sources (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). These sources, whether negative or positive, influence the way individuals perceive the world around them and have a direct effect on their behavior. Fishbein and Ajzen (1975 ) stated that the attitude a person has toward the behavior or subjective norms determines their intention to carry out the behavior and this leads to either action or inaction of the behavior. Figure 1 depicts Fishbein and 16). Figure 2 1 behaviors. (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). This model displayed the progression of beliefs on attitudes, attitudes to intention to perform a behavior, and intention to perform a behavior to behavior. Their behavior then influences their beliefs about the subject and the cycle begins again. Consequently, if a person has positive beliefs and attitudes toward something, then they Beliefs about consequences of behavior X Normative beliefs about con sequences of behavior X Attitude toward behavior X Subjective norm concerning behavior X Intention to perform behavior X Behavior X

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34 are more likely to support it through action and behavior (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). At the same time, if a person has negative beliefs and attitudes toward something, then they are not likely to support it through action and behavior (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). When administrators make decisions, they generally follow a pattern; whether these decisions are petty day to day decisions or major decisions that change the structure of schools, they generally have followed a pattern. Cross (1980) stated that once a problem is perceived, information is obtained related to the problem, alternatives are thought through, the possibilities of consequences are listed, and a choice is made. The information that is obtained comes from subordinates, extraordinates, h ierarchies, peers, and records Decisions are then made based on a decision premise. Cross (1980) contended that the three most common decision premises were based on directing and knowledge relevant to philosophical and technical bases underlying instruction of ably on this type of information as well as their own experiences and knowledge, then Th erefore, if agricultural education aligns with the values of administrators, decisions that favor agricultural education programs will be made. In addition, if agricultural education programs are perceived to be positive by superintendents and principals, then support for programs will be heightened.

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35 Conceptual Model and behaviors, the conceptual model developed for this study is shown in Figure 2. Fi gure 2 2 Progression of principals and superintendents values and perceptions on the number of agricultural education programs. Principals and Superintendent s values (Beliefs) Principals and Superintendents Perceptions (Attitudes) Administrator variables Basic demographics Agriculture and agricultu ral education experience Academic background School variables Size Location School Status Agricultural education program variables FFA Chapter Students Academic integration Agricultural educator (Belief forming) Number of Agricultural Education Programs (Outcome of behavior) Agricultural Education Program Support (Behavior)

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36 This model displays how independent variables can influence the values and beliefs of principals and superintendents regarding agricultural education. These values regarding agricultural education. Behavior in the form of support of the agricultural education program can be predicted if these pe rceptions are positive. On the other hand, behavior in the form of non support can be predicted if the perceptions of of the number of agricultural education progra behavior toward agricultural education then reinforces their belief forming in either a positive or negative way and the cycle continues. r schools (Frick, 2009). All administrators have a value system that they bring in to work with them. These values have been influenced by their past experiences, the culture in the school and community, and the visible quality (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) of the attitudes and beliefs which effect their perceptions. Perceptions are demonstrated in the form of action or behavior and this is either positive or negative. Previo us Research Administrator Variables Kalme and Dyer (2000) conducted a study of the perceptions of Iowa high school principals toward agricultural education programs, courses, and teachers. This study found that Iowa principals have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs, courses, and teachers. This study recommended that researchers examine schools

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37 with and without agricultural education programs to determine if lack of principal support was a cause of the schools not having agricultural education programs. Basic d emographics programs or some aspect of agricultural education programs. Dyer and Osborne (1999) attitudes toward agricultural education programs that integrated science into the curriculum. Demographic characteristics were found to be related to the perceptions of the Illinois guidance counselors surveyed in this study. A correlation between gender and perceptions of agricultural education teachers and courses was found. Male guidance counselors perceived agricultural education to be a more traditiona l type of course than females. Male counselors ranked the competency of agricultural educators as very high, whereas female counselors only ranked the competency of a gricultural educations as high. In addition, a correlation between age and perceptions of the agricultural industry was found. Counselors who were older than 40 years held more positive views of agriculture as an industry than did counselors who were under 40 years old (Dyer & Osborne, 1999). education in public schools in Texas. Barnett (1984) found that Texas pr incipals had positive perceptions of vocational education. In addition, no significant differences were found among perceptions of principals based on the age of the principal. However, principals between the ages of 50 and 59 had more positive perception s of vocational education programs than those principals who were between the ages of 40 and 49.

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38 This study also found that principals did not view vocational education differently based on their number of years in education (Barnett, 1984). Agriculture a nd agricultural e ducation e xperience Pavelock, Ullrich, Hanagriff, and Baer ( 2003) reported that Texas superintendents had positive perceptions of agricultural education programs in Texas. This study reported that 58.6% of Texas public school superintende nts had experience with agricultural education by either having taught, taken a course in, or had a child that took an agricultural education course (Pavelock, Ullrich, et al., 2003). Pavelock, Ullrich, et al. (2003) also indicated that the superintendent s who had more experience with agricultural education believed that agricultural education courses are less vocational and more academic. In addition, the superintendents with less experience had varying perceptions on the area of instruction that were in need of enhancement (Pavelock, Ullrich, et al., 2003). Pavelock, Ullrich, et al. (2003) recommended that agricultural education teachers spend time with superintendents who have little or no experience in agricultural education to help them understand t he value of the program, as well as become aware of the academic incorporation of most agricultural education programs. Although Pavelock, Ullrich, et al. (2003) found that experience with agricultural education was associated with more positive percepti ons of superintendents, Kalme (1998) indicated that experience in the agriculture industry did not directly correlate with higher perceptions of agricultural education programs in Iowa. In addition, Kalme (1998) indicated that principals whose child had b een enrolled in agricultural education did not have higher perceptions of agricultural education programs than principals whose children had not been enrolled in agricultural education classes. Kalme (1998) also reported that there was no correlation betw een higher perceptions in Iowa

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39 principals and being enrolled in an agricultural education class when the principal was in high school, compared to principals who had never taken an agricultural education class. Rayfield and Wilson (2009) reported that on ly 10% of principals surveyed in North Carolina had taught a Career and Technical Education course while teaching high school. However, 16.5% of principals had been enrolled in an agricultural education class while in high school. No significant differen ces were found in the perceptions of SAE programs between the principals who had taken an agricultural education class and principals who had taken an agricultural education class. Rayfield and Wilson (2009) noted that principals without agricultural educ ation experience saw merit in SAE for students. Pavelock, Vaughn, and Kieth (2001) studied 100 Texas public school superintendents and determined that overall, Texas superintendents had positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. The supe rintendents believed that the amount of money spent on agricultural education was a wise investment. Texas superintendents tended to have more experience in agricultural education programs than superintendents in other states. Of the superintendents who responded, 67.1% indicated that they had work experience in agriculture. Of the responding superintendents, 41% had been enrolled in an agricultural education course, and 34% had children that had been enrolled in agricultural education courses. This stu dy also recommended that teachers make greater efforts to keep superintendents informed of students of a variety of backgrounds and achievement levels.

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40 Academic b ackground P avelock, Ullrich, Hanagriff, and Baer (2003) reported of the superintendents surveyed, 11.4% had experience either teaching vocational education or agricultural education. Most principals teaching experience was in an academic area. However, regardless o f their area of teaching when teaching high school, Texas superintendents perceived agricultural education positively. subject area that they previously taught influenced the ir perceptions of agriculture. Guidance counselors who taught English, special education, or science held more positive views toward agriculture than counselors with experience t eaching in other subject areas. mpared perceptions according to their 1984, p.119). No significant difference was found in the perceptions of principals based on t heir prior teaching assignment. However, principals who had taught in vocational areas held more positive perceptions of voca tional education School Variables There are school variables that can influence administrator perceptions. Below, are certain school variables that previous research has found to influence administrator perceptions. Size Rayfield and Wilson (2009) reported that 70% of principals who responded worked in schools with medium to large s izes of 501 1,500 students. Although the schools

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41 were rather large, principals still viewed Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE) as important and agricultural education programs as valuable (Rayfield & Wilson, 2009). Rayfield and Wilson (2009) state (p.77). This study also recommended the examination of affirmative measures that can get both teachers and administrators to act upon their positive perceptions of SAE (Rayfield & Wilson, 2009). Location So me studies contend that the size and type of community can be an indicator of (2009) reported that communities that are centered on agricultural production can promote very different perceptions of agriculture than communities that are not. Kalme reported that 74.8% of Iowa principals who responded were from communities of less than 5,000 people. Agricultural education programs were viewed positively in this study (Kal me, 1998). perceptions of agricultural education programs in Illinois. A very high rate of 75% of the parents and students indicated that they lived in a rural area, and 90% of the parents and agriscience students ranked the agricultural education prog ram between good and excellent However, parents were unsure as to whether or not they would encourage their child to enter the agricultural industry. This study recommended that agricultural educators keep parents, as well as others, aware of the many caree r opportunities in agriculture. e influences in the

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42 provided many jobs in their communities. Jewell (1989) stated that administrators perceived that their communities consider agricultural educatio n programs to be important. In addition, administrators believed that the main purpose of agricultural education was to prepare students for careers in agriculture. Administrators also believed that there is more justification for agricultural education programs than simply the number of students who enter the agricultu ral industry after high school. Pavelock (2000) compared superintendents in larger towns and cities to rural area. This study determined that superintendents in large towns and cities beli eved that the primary purpose of agriscience was not to prepare students for immediate entry into the agricultural industry. In addition, superintendents from larger areas did not agree to the high level that superintendents in smaller schools did, that a gricultural education programs are useful in helping at risk students stay interested in school (Pavelock, 2000). School status Martin, Fritzsche, and Ball (2006) conducted a Delphi study of expert panelists regarding the foreseen impacts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation on secondary agricultural education programs. The expert panelists determined that because of the monetary punishments and rewards of the results of mandatory testing put in place by NCLB legislation, that funding could be a pote ntial issue for schools. These funding issues could force schools to focus on academic areas instead of elective type course like agricultural education. The expert panelists agreed that because CTE courses are not included in NCLB mandates, that these p rograms have the potential to be lowered

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43 in priority when decision makers have to make hard choices (Martin, Fritzsche, & Ball, 2006). Agricultural Education Program Variables There are certain agricultural education program variables that could influence administrator perceptions of agricultural education programs. There are certain aspects that past studies have found that influence administrator perceptions of agricultural education programs. FFA chapter Pavelock (2000) found that superintendents do not believe that too much attention is placed on FFA Activities and leadership development activities. However, superintendents in Texas did believe that too much attention is being focused on livestock activities, such as livestoc k judging and livestock sho wing. Pavelock recommended reducing the emphasis on livestock events to improve support from superintendents and other administrators. Students Kalme and Dyer (2000) noted that Iowa principals believed that students of all achievement levels could benefit from agricultural education courses. In this study, Pavelock, Ullrich, et al. (2003) reported that Texas superintendents be lieved that agricultural education programs have had success assisting at risk students stay engaged in their education. This study recommended that teachers work with community members, administrators, teachers, and parents to develop a curriculum and co urses that caters to stude nts of varying future interests. Superintendents agreed that

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44 students who wanted to enter the agricultural industry after high school, as well as students who wanted to pursue higher education could all benefit from being enrolle d in agricultural education, and the courses should be based on what the student intends to do after high school (Pavelock, Ullrich, et al. 2003). In addition, in a related study conducted by Pavelock, Vaughn, and Kieth (2001) teachers were encouraged to pay special attention to lower achieving students because agriscience could provide them (p.482). Johnson and Newman (1993) indicated that administrators, guidance counselor s, and science teachers agreed that agriscience courses that integrated science curricula were more appealing to higher achieving students. However, these respondents believed that the curriculum would be challenging to students of every skill level (John son & Newman, 1993). Dyer and Osborne (1999) reported that Illinois guidance counselors believed that agricultural education was good preparation for college or entrance into the agricultural industry. This study also concluded that agriculture courses c an benefit high achieving students. Brister (2008) reported that guidance counselors, agriscience teachers, and administrators believed that agriscience courses were beneficial and appropriate for high achieving students. In addition, the students believ ed that the agriscience course was good for any student to. Overall, results from this study indicated support for agricultural education prog rams from all parties surveyed.

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45 Academic integration Dyer and Osborne (1999) conducted a study of the influence o f science integration into agricultural education courses on the attitudes of Illinois guidance counselors. In schools that integrated science into their agricultural education courses, the guidance counselors displayed more positive views of the agricult ural education program. This finding was different than a previous study conducted by Dyer and Osborne (1994) that indicated that Illinois guidance counselors were unsure of the value of agricultural education. Thompson (2001) evaluated the perceptions of Oregon principals regarding science integration in agricultural education programs. Thompson (2001) stated that (p.58). Thompson (2001) contended that a majority of prin that students were more aware of the connection between science and agriculture, that students learn more about agriculture, and science concepts are easier to understand if science is integrated into the agricultural education pr perceived science integration to be positive and had positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Thompson (2001) recommended that agricultural educators highlight their knowledge of scientific concepts to ad ministrators. Thompson also contended that agricultural educators can benefit from involvement of administrators in curriculum decisions (Thompson, 2001). education focuses too heav agreed that academics are reinforced in agricultural education (Kalme & Dyer, 2000). However, one finding that contradicts the belief that agricultural education courses are

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46 integrating academic m for improvement. Brister (2008) surveyed Mississippi guidance counselors, administrators, This study found that Mississippi agriscience teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators b elieved that science credit should be given for agriscience classes and that agricultural education teachers were capable of teaching this type of material (Brister, 2008). Agricultural educators Blezek (1987) conducted a study on the perceptions of superi ntendents on the professionalism of vocational agriculture instructors in Nebraska. Nebraska superintendents ranked the professionalism of the agricultural education teachers fairly high. However, the superintendents ranked the agricultural educators low er than they ranked other professionals on the professionalism scale (Blezek, 1987). Blezek (1987) recommended using this study to evaluate the relationships between agricultural education instructors and administrators. Weeks (2006) found that administra tors were very satisfied with the quality of applications that they received for an open position in their school for agricultural education teachers. Additionally, administrators were extremely satisfied with the performance i n interviews of the applican ts Administrators claimed they were seeking candidates who were enthusiastic about teaching and had skills to help them with community relations (Weeks, 2006). In addition, Cantrell and Weeks (2004) found that

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47 when administrators were hiring first year agricultural education teachers, they were more interested in their agricultural knowledge, preferred candidates that had completed student teaching requirements as opposed to being alternatively certified, and wanted students who were enthusiastic about teaching agriculture. In addition, Weeks and Terry (2000) conducted a study of administrator satisfaction with first year agricultural educators in Oklahoma and found that administrators were satisfied with the agricultural administrators who responded (Weeks & Terry, 2000). Kalme and Dyer (2000) indicated that Iowa principals believed that agricultural educators had very positive and professional relationships with oth er teachers in the school as well as administrators. They also agreed that agricultural educators had positive relation ships with guidance counselors Principals also stated that they believed the agricultural educator in the ir school to be of high quali ty. Johnson and Newman (1993) reported that administrators, guidance counselors, and science teachers all agreed that the agricultural educator at their school was qualified to teach agriscience classes that awarded science credit. However, of all the res pondent groups, administrators had the lowest level of agreement with this statement, and sc ience teachers had the highest. In this study, the agricultural educators worked directly with the science teachers to implement a pilot agriscience for science cr edit course. This extensive exposure may have led to more positive perceptions from the science teachers (Johnson & Newman, 1993). Other E lective Courses elective type course s. This study found that approximately 28% of the principals

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48 surveyed believed that elective courses were detrimental to students (Bagley, 1908). Bagley (1908) reported that approximately 35% of the principals surveyed believed that elective courses were beneficial to students. Bagley (1908) argued that elective courses can serve the special purpose of meeting local needs. Krumenaker (2010) conducted a study of the reasons that astronomy classes were not offered in a vast majority of high schools arou nd the United States. According the Krumenaker (2010) astronomy class is only offered in approximately 10% of schools around the country. A concluding reason for the lack of astronomy classes in high schools was more administrators needed to be convinced of the value of these classes. Krumenaker (2010) stated that administrators have an enormous influence on whether a course or program is offered or not. He also contended that administrators have the majority of say when determining who and what gets fu nding (Krumenaker, 2010). Krumenaker (2010) recommended that teachers and students who have been interested in astronomy as a course offering justify the merit of these classes by indicating that there are national standards that can be addressed by astro nomy curriculum. Short and Matlock (1982) conducted a study of the characteristics of schools that offer Sociology as a Social Studies elective. This study ascertained the opinion of high school principals regarding the reasons behind the school offering or not offering Sociolog y as a Social Studies elective. Short and Matlock ( 1982) contended that smaller, poorer schools would not have the available finds to offer many choices of elective type courses. The principals in this study reported positive perc eptions of the

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49 Railsback and Hite (2008) conducted a study of the perceptions of principals, boards of education, and guidance counselors regarding the value of business edu cation classes in high schools. Railsback and Hite (2008) stated that there has been an ongoing debate as to whether schools should strictly offer core curriculum or a effect of squeezing elective courses out of the high school curriculum may have a more supportive of high school business classes than the board of education m embers and guidance counselors. This study recommended that business teachers reach out to administrators in an effort to improve support and expand the availability of business classes in high schools. S ummary Overall, past studies have indicated fairly positi ve support of agricultural education programs. The literature revealed that overall, vocational education and agricultural education were viewed fairly positive by many different sources. Several studies indicated that guidance counselors, principals, s uperintendents, parents, students, and teachers from other disciplines all indicated that they had fairly positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. attitudes l ead to intensions and intensions lead to behavior. Therefore, if decision makers have a positive perception of agricultural education programs, then positive behavior in the form of support can be predicted. The conceptual model for this study was based the prediction of specific intentions and behaviors. The conceptual model of this study

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50 included the progression of administrator variables, school variables, and agricultural education program variables on administrator perceptions; and then from administrator perceptions to administrator support and behavior.

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51 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY This study was designed to determine the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals and superintendents regarding agricultural educati on. Perceptions were sought from Florida secondary school principals with and without agricultural education programs to determine if a relationship existed between perceptions and the absence of an agricultural education program. Perceptions of Florida public school superintendents and Florida secondary school principals were compared. The following objectives were investigated to accomplish the purpose of this study: Determine the perceptions of Florida public school superintendents toward secondary ag ricultural education programs. Determine the perceptions of Florida public school principals toward secondary agricultural education programs. Compare the perceptions of Florida public school superintendents and principals toward secondary agricultural edu cation programs. Determine the influence of the presence of a local secondary agricultural education program on the perceptions of principals. Examine the relationships between demographic characteristics and views toward secondary agricultural education p rograms as reported by principals and superintendents. Understand the items that Florida principals and superintendents take into consideration when making program funding decisions. Research Design This quantitative study used a descriptive survey design. A modified questionnaire originally designed by Kalme and Dyer (2000) was used to ascertain the perceptions of principals and superintendents toward agricultural education. Both web based and mailed questionnaires were distributed to determine perceptio ns. Threats to internal validity were addressed. History was addressed by documenting any significant

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52 occurrences during the duration of the study. Selection was addressed by choosing a simple random sample of the principals in Florida and taking a censu s of the superintendents in Florida. Statistical regression was addressed by having no pretest or posttest. Attrition and maturation were addressed by having only one questionnaire and data collection only lasted a short amount of time. Instrumentation w as addressed by giving identical questionnaires to all participants. Experimenter effects were addressed by only having one questionnaire and were coded in a uniform manner to remove any bias. Subject effects were addressed by assigning each questionnair e and respondent a respondent number so that anonymity could be established to reduce the effects of social desirability. Procedures A proposal to conduct the study was sent to the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB 02) prior to collec ting data and was approved ( Appendix A). An informed consent form was developed to describe the purpose of the study, as well as the voluntary nature of the study ( Appendix B ). The informed consent also described the risks and benefits connected with the mode survey was used (Dillman, Smyth, & Christian, 2009) to make four contacts with the sample was followed. An e mail was sent to the sample on September 29, 2010 which included an informed consent, an introduction and the questionnaire. A follow up e mail was sent one week after the questionnaire to remind the respondents to complete the questionnaire and thank them for their participation. Two weeks later, another reminder e mai l was sent. Three weeks later, another reminder was sent. At the one month mark, the questionnaire was mailed to people who had not ye t responded. Then, phone calls were made to a random sample of

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53 principals who had not yet responded to remind them of t he importance of the study. A sample of these letters may be viewed in Appendix B Non response error is the most common problem in survey research (McMillan & Schumacher, 2010) and Dillman (2009) recommends addressing non response error in survey resear ch. Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh, and Sorenson (2006) stated that research has indicated that late respondents and non respondents are often similar. Therefore, non response error was addressed by comparing early and late respondents on both the online form and the paper form of the questionnaire, as well as comparing the online answers to the paper answers. If the data is statistically alike, then the data was generalizable to the rest of the population (Miller & Smith, 1983). Population and Sample The target p opulation for this study was Florida public school superintendents and principals. Israel (2009) stated that for populations under 200, a census should be used to eliminate sampling error and provide an accurate data set. There were 67 superintendents in the state of Florida, so a census was the most accurate and appropriate sample. A simple random sample of principals in the state of Florida was taken. The sample size of the principals selected followed the guidelines presented by Israel (2009). The formula n = N/ 1+ N(e) 2 where n =sample size, N =sampling frame or population, and e =desired precision was used (Israel, 2009). There were 354 eligible schools for testing. Therefore, 184 principals were surveyed (n= 354/1+ 354[ .05 ] 2 ) using a confidence lev el of 95% or .05 alpha The population frame for th ese two groups w as obtained from the Florida Department of Education. This frame was used because it was the only accurate and existing list of all principals and superintendents in the state of Florida.

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54 Instrument The instrument being used was designed by Kalme and Dyer (2000) and was determined to be valid and reliable by Kalme and Dyer. Some questions were modified and/or deleted to fit the needs of superintendents being surveyed. The edited instrum ent was pilot tested using 30 principals and superintendents from the S tate of Georgia to determine design validity and reliability. Face and content validity w ere assessed utilizing a panel of experts in the Department of Agricultural Education and Commu nication at the University of Florida The instrument was deemed valid Participants were asked to designate the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with every statement using a Likert type scale (1=strongly disagree 5=strongly agree or 6 = No Opi nion). Most questions were written in a positive manner however, s ome items were reverse coded to help ensure instrument rigor. A copy of the instrument may be viewed in Appendix B. Four constructs were used to measure perceptions of agricultural educat ion agreed or disagreed that agricultural education programs benefited students. disagreed th at agricultural education programs were important in their communities. what extent principals and superintendents agreed or disagreed that agricultural education teachers were of high quality. Post hoc reliability was calculated using SPSS Version 17.0. Reliability was determined for each construct s for

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5 5 superintendents are displayed in Table 3 1 construct was lower than the acceptable reliability of .70 (McMillan & Schumacher, 2010) Therefore, caution should be used in generalizing the results of the construct s uperintendents. Reliability was determined for each construct being measured for principals ( Table 3 2). All principal constructs were deemed reliable. Table 3 1. Post hoc reliability for constructs Construct Student Benefits .78 Community .64 Courses .78 Teachers .84 Table 3 2. Post Construct Student Benefits .81 Community .76 Courses .72 Teachers .89 Data Analysis ample consisted of a census of the population, descriptive statistics were the appropriate analysis to describe the perceptions of superintendents. Inferential statistics were used to determine the perceptions of principals since a simple random sample wa s taken. ANOVAs were calculated to compare the perceptions of principals and of the superintendents, to compare the perceptions of principals with and without agricultural education programs, and compare demographic characteristics in reference to percept ions of agricultural education

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56 programs. The scale that was used when analyzing means was 1.0 1.49 was deemed low or negative perceptions, 1.5 3.49 was deemed medium or neutral perceptions, and 3.5 5.0 was deemed high or positive perceptions. SPSS versi on 17.0 for Windows software package was used to analyze the data. Summary This study was a quantitative study that used a descriptive survey design. The procedures of this study follow An instrument that was originally crea ted by Kalme and Dyer was used in this study after modifications and a pilot study. Threats to inter nal validity were addressed. Face and content validity were assessed utilizing a panel of experts in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communic reliability. The population for this study was Flori da secondary school principals and school superintendents. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the census of Florida school superintendents. Inferential statistics were used to describe the simple random sample of Florida secondary school principals. SPSS version 17.0 for Windows software package was used to analyze all data.

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57 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Overview This study w as designed to determine the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals and superintendents regarding agricultural education. Perceptions were sought from Florida secondary school principals with and without agricultural education programs to dete rmine if a relationship existed between perceptions based on the absence of an agricultural education program. Perceptions of Florida public school superintendents and Florida secondary school principals were compared. The following objectives were inves tigated to accomplish the purpose of this study: Determine the perceptions of Florida public school superintendents toward secondary agricultural education programs. Determine the perceptions of Florida public school principals toward secondary agricultura l education programs. Compare the perceptions of Florida public school superintendents and principals toward secondary agricultural education programs. Determine the influence of the presence of a local secondary agricultural education program on the perce ptions of principals. Examine the relationships between demographic characteristics and views toward secondary agricultural education programs as reported by principals and superintendents. Understand the items that Florida principals and superintendents t ake into consideration when making program funding decisions. The findings of this study are presented in this chapter. The chapter addresses the response rate and measures taken to handle non response error. Additionally, the chapter addresses the findi ngs in relation to all objectives.

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58 Response Rate, Non response, and Reliability In order to attain the objectives of this study, questionnaires were sent to 184 principals in the state of Florida. Eight principals opted to not participate in the study d ecreasing the sample size to 176. A total n of 71 complete responses were analyzed for data collection. The total response rate for principals was 40.34%. Superintendents were also sent questionnaires. The population of superintendents in Florida was 6 7. A total of three superintendents opted to not participate in the study decreasing the population to 64. Forty five complete responses were analyzed for data collection. The final N for superintendents was 45 making the total response rate 70.31%. N on response error was addressed by comparing early and late respondents on both the online form and the paper form of the questionnaire, as well as comparing the onlin e answers to the paper answers (Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh, & Sorenson, 2006). Early respondent s were defined as the first 50% of respondents to respond online as well as through the mail. Therefore, early respondents for principals online questionnaires were n= 16 and n=18 for paper questionnaires. Early respondents for superintendents for online questionnaires was n=15 and n=8 for paper questionnaires. Late respondents were defined as the last 50% of respondents to respond online as well as through the mail. Therefore, late respondents for principals on online questionnaires was n=18 and n=17 fo r paper questionnaires. Late respondents for superintendents for online questionnaires was n= 14 and n=8 paper questionnaires. Additionally, online questionnaires were compared to paper questionnaires in both principals and superintendents. No significan t differences were found between early and late respondents in the principal questionnaires. Additionally, no significant differences were

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59 found between online and paper questionnaires in principals. No significant differences were found between paper qu estionnaires from superintendents. However, a significant difference on the construct was found between early and late respondents on online questionnaires in superintendents ( Table 4 1). The results of this construct should not be gen eralized beyond the population of Florida superintendents Table 4 1. T test s comparing early and late superintendent respondents on online questionnaires Construct df F p Student Benefits 27 7.03 .01 Community 27 2.48 .12 Courses 27 0 .12 .72 Teachers 27 1.51 .22 Objective 1 : Determine the P erceptions of Florida P ublic S chool S uperintendents t oward S econdary A gricultural E ducation P rograms. Overall, superintendents had positive perceptions of agricultural education of any of the constructs with a mean of 4.11 ( SD =.46). Superintendents ranked how SD =.60). The mean quality of the c onstruct was 3.93 ( SD =.46), and the mean quality of the construct was 3.93 ( SD =.57) ( Table 4 2 ). Table 4 2 Superintendent descriptive statistics of four constructs Construct N Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 4 5 4.11 .46 Community 45 4.02 .60 Courses 45 3.93 .46 Teachers 45 3.93 .57

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60 Objective 2 : Determine the P erceptions of Florida P ublic S chool P rincipals t oward S econdary A gricultural E ducation P rograms. Overall, principals had positive perceptions of agr icultural education. Principals valued the quality of agricultural education teachers with a mean of 4.08 (SD=.63). (SD=.59) when ranking the benefits of agricultural educa tion to students. Principals believed that the quality of agricultural education courses was high and had a mean an agricultural education program in their community t he lowest, yet still high with a Table 4 3). Table 4 3 Construct n Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 69 3.99 .59 Community 70 3.85 .65 Courses 69 3.83 .54 Teachers 63 4.08 .63 Note: Differences in n due to respondents selecting not to complete this section of the instrument or Objective 3 : Compare the P erceptions of Florida P ublic S chool S uperintendents and P rincipals t oward S econdary A gricultural E ducation P rograms. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of superintendents and principals in reference to agricultural education programs. No significant differences were found between principals and superintendents on any of the four constructs measuring perceptions of agricultural education programs ( Table 4 4 ) Table 4 4 Summary of ANOVA measures for principal and superintendent perceptions of four constructs Construct df F p Student Benefits 1 1.46 .22 Community 1 3.20 .07 Courses 1 0.60 .43 Teachers 1 1.62 .20

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61 Objective 4 : Determine the I nfluence of the P resence of a L ocal S econdary A gricultural E ducation P rogram on the P erceptions o f P rincipals. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals with and without agricultural education programs and to determine the influence of the presence of a local secondary agricultural education program on the perceptions of princip als. All constructs demonstrated a significant difference between the two groups of principals. A significance level of P<.01 was found on all four constructs ( Table 4 5). Table 4 5 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals with and without agricultural education programs at their school Construct df F p Student Benefits 1 36.98 <.01 Community 1 44.66 <.01 Courses 1 26.23 <.01 Teachers 1 34.89 <.01 When analyzing the means of principals with and without a local agricultural education program at thei r school, all means were significantly higher for principals with principals with agricultural education programs at their school had a mean of 4.26 ( SD =.40) whereas principals witho ut agricultural education programs had a mean of 3.53 ( SD =.58). For of 4.18 ( SD =.54) whereas principals without agricultural education programs at their school had a m ean of 3.34 ( SD =.44). In reference to the quality of agricultural education courses, principals with agricultural education programs at their school had a mean of 4.06 ( SD =.43) and principals without agricultural education programs at their school had a m ean of 3.49 ( SD =.46). The same trend continued with principals opinions of the quality of agricultural education teachers. Principals who had an

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62 agricultural education program at their school held high positive perceptions about agricultural education te achers with a mean of 4.35 ( SD =.49) and P rincipals without agricultural education programs at their schools only had positive perceptions about agricultural education teachers with a mean of 3.54 ( SD =.53) ( Table 4 6 ). Table 4 6 Summary of Means for pr incipals at schools with and without agricultural education programs Construct Presence of Ag. Ed. Program f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 42 4.26 .40 2 26 3.53 .58 Community 1 42 4.18 .54 2 27 3.34 .44 Courses 1 42 4.06 .43 2 26 3.49 .46 Teachers 1 42 4.35 .49 2 21 3.54 .53 Note: In presence of Ag. Ed. Program, 1=Yes, 2=No. It is important to note that although none of the perceptions, regardless of the existence of a local agricultural education program, were extremely low. Ho wever, there was a significant difference on all four constructs when comparing the perceptions of principals of schools with and without agricultural education programs at their school. Objective 5 : Examine the R elationships b etween D emographic C haracter istics and V iews t oward S econdary A gricultural E ducation P rograms as R eported by P rincipals and S uperintendents. ANOVA s were calculated to examine relationships between demographic characteristics and views toward agricultural education programs as reporte d by principals. ANOVA s were calculated in relation to the following demographic

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63 characteristics for principals: gender, previous subject taught, size of the school, racial breakdown of school, if the principal had taken an agricultural education class wh en in high school, if the principals child had taken an agricultural education class, if the principal had work experience in the field of agriculture, if the principal had been at a school where the agricultural education program had been discontinued, if the principal had been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been started, the geographic region of the school, the breakdown of free or reduced lunch participants at the school, and if the school made A nnual Y early P rogress last year Out of 71 principals, only 30.9% ( n =22) were female. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals based on gender. On the basis of gender, no agri cultural education programs. An ANOVA was conducted to compare the perceptions of principals based on the subject that they taught before becoming principals. Principals were grouped into three categories. The categories were composed of principals who had previously taught math or science, principals who had previously taught agricultural education, and principals who had previously taught other subjects s uch as English, Social Studies, and other subjects Of the 71 responses, only 4.22% ( n =3) were fo rmer agricultural educators, 29.57% ( n =21) were former science or math teachers, and 45.07% ( n =32) were categorized as other. It is important to note that there was a relatively low number of former agricultural educators which could have possibly influen ced the ANOVA measures. However, o ne significant difference of p =.02 was found between the three Table 4 7 ).

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64 Table 4 7 Summary of ANOVA measures for the subjects taught by principals prior to going into administration C onstruct df F p Student Benefits 2 0 .96 .39 Community 2 3.99 .02 Courses 2 2.34 .10 Teachers 2 2.76 .07 Additionally, differences in means were observed between the three groups of principals. Former agricultural educators ranked the quality of cour ses at a mean score of 4.41( SD =.59) whereas former science and math teachers ranked the quality of agricultural education classes at 3.93 ( SD =.51) and other former teachers ranked the quality of agricultural education courses at 3.80 ( SD =.4 5) Overall, th e principals who were former agricultural educators had the highest mean score for all four constructs. Science and math teachers had the second highest mean score for the three categories with mean scores that demonstrated positive regard for agricultura l education programs. Principals who taught other subjects ranked all four constructs lower than any other group ( Table 4 8 ). Table 4 8 Summary of Means for the subjects taught by principals prior to going into administration Construct Subject Taught f M ean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 21 4.09 .56 2 3 4.41 .59 3 31 3.99 .49 Community 1 21 4.10 .63 2 3 4.40 .52 3 32 3.68 .61

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65 Table 4 8. Continued Construct Subject Taught f Mean Standard Deviation Courses 1 21 3.93 .51 2 3 4.41 .52 3 31 3.80 .45 Teachers 1 20 4.31 .49 2 3 4.53 .41 3 28 3.96 .64 Note: Principals who previously taught math or science are represented by 1, 2 is former agricultural education teachers, and 3 represents other subjects previously taught. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals regarding agricultural education in reference to school size. Schools were categorized by their classification sy stem (FHSAA, 2010) Single A and Double A schools were classified as small schools ( n =15). Triple A schools and Four A schools were classified as midsize schools ( n =27). Five A schools were classified as large schools ( n =18). And, Six A schools were cl assified as extra large schools ( n =9). No significant differences were found between the four groups b ased on school size. Although no significant statistical difference was found, the mean scores of small schools were consistently higher than that of al l other school sizes ( Table 4 9 ). Table 4 9 Summary of Means for principal perceptions based on school size Construct School Size f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 15 4.25 .31 2 26 4.05 .58 3 18 3.83 .73 4 9 3.67 .53

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66 T able 4 9. Continued Construct School Size f Mean Standard Deviation Community 1 15 4.11 .63 2 27 3.95 .66 3 18 3.65 .64 4 9 3.55 .49 Courses 1 15 4.04 .53 2 26 3.86 .62 3 18 3.75 .42 4 9 3.66 .34 Teachers 1 15 4.25 .43 2 24 4 .22 .67 3 15 3.82 .69 4 9 3.84 .59 Note: For school size, 1 represents small schools, 2 represents midsize schools, 3 represents large schools, and 4 represents extra large schools. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals in reference were categorized as having 25% or less white population (n=4), 26 50% white population (n=15), 51 75% white population (n=15), or 76 100% white population (n Table 4 10). Table 4 10 Summary of ANOVA measures for principal perceptions based on the racial breakdown of the school Construct df F p Student Benefits 3 2.16 .10 Commun ity 3 0.77 .51 Courses 3 2.94 .04 Teachers 3 0.84 .47

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67 The principals with the schools that had the highest percentage of minorities had consistent as the percentage of min orities decreased through the categories. The group with the highest perceptions of the quality of agricultural education courses was the group with 51 75% white population ( Table 4 11). Table 4 1 1 Summary of Means for principal perceptions based on the racial breakdown of the school Construct Racial Breakdown f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 4 3.36 .35 2 15 3.94 .63 3 15 4.09 .58 4 20 4.01 .36 Community 1 4 3.38 .47 2 15 3.75 .69 3 15 3.91 .76 4 20 3.85 .53 Courses 1 4 3.50 .1 0 2 15 3.76 .52 3 15 4.08 .47 4 20 3.68 .44 Teachers 1 4 3.63 .60 2 15 4.00 .68 3 15 4.17 .77 4 20 4.08 .36 Note: In the column Racial Breakdown, 1 is representative of 25% or less white population, 2 is representative of 26 50% white populat ion, 3 is representative of 51 75% white population, and 4 is representative of 76 100% white population. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals in reference to whether or not the principal took an agricultural education class wh en in high school. A relatively low percentage of 18.8% (n=13) of principals had taken an agricultural

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68 education class when in high school. A significant difference of p=.01 was found between the two groups of principals who had and had not taken an agri cultural education class when in high school on the quality of agricultural education courses ( Table 4 12). Table 4 1 2 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals who had and had not taken an agricultural education class Construct df F p Student Benefits 1 2.49 .11 Community 1 1.72 .19 Courses 1 6.41 .01 Teachers 1 1.23 .27 Principals who had taken an agricultural education class in high school had a mean score of 4.16 ( SD =.42) when ranking the quality of agricultural education classes whereas principa ls who had not taken an agricultural education class had a mean score of 3.77 ( SD =.52) when ranking the quality of agricultural education classes ( Table 4 1 3 ). Table 4 1 3 Summary of Means of principals who had and had not taken an agricultural education class Construct Ag. Ed. enrollment f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 13 4.22 .53 2 55 3.93 .60 Community 1 13 4.07 .65 2 56 3.81 .64 Courses 1 13 4.16 .42 2 55 3.77 .52 Teachers 1 12 4.26 .58 2 51 4.03 .65 Note: In Ag. Ed. Enrollme nt, 1=Yes, and 2=No

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69 An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals whose child had and had not taken an agricultural education class. Only 17.39% ( n =12) of principals had a child that had taken an agricultural education class. A signifi cant difference of p<.01 p<.01 p<.01 Table 4 1 4 ). Table 4 1 4 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals whose child had or had not taken an agricultural education class Construc t df F p Student Benefits 1 12.76 <.01 Community 1 10.87 <.01 Courses 1 10.86 <.01 Teachers 1 3.53 .07 Principals whose child had taken an agricultural education class had a mean score of 4.50 (SD=.34) when ranking perceptions of the benefits that ag ricultural education offers to students, 4.38 (SD=.44) when ranking perceptions of the importance of an agricultural education program to the community, 4.27 (SD=.26) when ranking perceptions of the quality of agricultural education classes, and 4.38 (SD=. 46) when ranking perceptions of the quality of agricultural education teachers. On the other hand, principals whose child had not taken an agricultural education class had overall lower mean scores on all four constructs. For principals whose child had n ot taken an agricultural education class the mean score was 3.87 (SD=.58) when ranking perceptions of the benefits that agricultural education offers to students, 3.74 (SD=.63) when ranking perceptions of the importance of an agricultural education program to the community, 3.75 (SD=.52) when ranking perceptions of the quality of agricultural

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70 education classes, and 4.01 (SD=.65) when ranking perceptions of the quality of agricultural education teachers ( Table 4 15). Table 4 1 5 Summary of Means for princip als whose child had or had not taken an agricultural education class Construct Child Ag. Ed. Enrollment f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 12 4.50 .34 2 56 3.87 .58 Community 1 12 4.38 .44 2 57 3.74 .63 Courses 1 12 4.27 .26 2 56 3.75 .5 2 Teachers 1 12 4.38 .46 2 21 4.01 .65 Note: In Child Ag. Ed. Enrollment, 1=Yes, 2=No. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals who had work experience in the field of agriculture versus principals who did not have work experien ce in the field of agriculture. A total of 32.35% ( n =22) principals had experience in the field of agriculture. A significant difference was found of p construct as well as a significant difference of p<.01 construct ( Table 4 1 6 ). Table 4 1 6 Summary of ANOVA measures for principals who had and did n o t have work experience in the field of agriculture Construct df F p Student Benefits 1 6.46 .01 Community 1 2.42 .12 Courses 1 8.01 <.01 Teachers 1 2.60 .11

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71 Principals who did have work experience in the field of agriculture had a mean score of 4.24 (SD=.45) when ranking perceptions of the benefits that agricultural education offers to students and 4.10 (SD=.41) when ranking perceptions of the quality of ag ricultural education classes. Principals who did not have work experience in the field of agriculture had a mean score of 3.86 (SD=.62) when ranking perceptions of the benefits that agricultural education offers to students and 3.73 (SD=.53) when ranking perceptions of the quality of agricultural education classes ( Table 4 17). Table 4 1 7 Summary of Means for principals who had and did n o t have work experience in the field of agriculture Construct Ag. Work experience f Mean Standard Deviation Student Be nefits 1 22 4.24 .45 2 45 3.86 .62 Community 1 22 4.02 .69 2 46 3.76 .61 Courses 1 22 4.10 .41 2 45 3.73 .53 Teachers 1 21 4.26 .59 2 41 3.99 .65 Note: In Ag. Work experience, 1=Yes, 2=No. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of p rincipals who had been at a school where an agricultural education program had been discontinued. Only 2.8% ( n =2) of principals had been at a school where the agricultural education program had been discontinued. No significant differences were found bet ween the two groups of principals. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals who had been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been started. A total of 13.0% ( n =9) principals had been at a school where an agric ultural education program

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72 had been started. Significant differences were found at a level of p p<.01 p<.01 p Table 4 1 8 ). Table 4 18. Summary of ANOVA measures for princ ipals who had and had not been at a school where a new agricultural education program was started Construct df F p Student Benefits 1 6.08 .01 Community 1 12.96 <.01 Courses 1 7.46 <.01 Teachers 1 6.95 .01 For all four constructs, prin cipals who had been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been started had higher mean scores. Although, all perceptions were high, the principals who had been at schools where a new agricultural education program was started, had si gnificantly more positive perceptions than principals who had not ever been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been started ( Table 4 1 9 ). Table 4 1 9 Summary of Means for principals who had and had not been at a school where a new agricultural education program was started Construct Star ted New Ag. Program f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 9 4.43 .31 2 59 3.92 .60 Community 1 9 4.53 .41 2 60 3.75 .62 Courses 1 9 4.27 .39 2 59 3.78 .51 Teachers 1 9 4.57 .36 2 5 4 4.00 .63 Note: In Started New Ag. Program, 1=Yes, 2=No.

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73 An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals based on the geographic region that the school was located in as designated by the principal. Schools were categorized into the fol lowing groups: urban (n=15), suburban (n=15), town (n=12), and rural (n=26). Significant differences were found between the groups with a p<.01 p<.01 ( Table 4 20). Table 4 20 Summary of A NOVA measures for perceptions of principals based on the geographic region of the school Construct df F p Student Benefits 1 6.36 <.01 Community 1 1.38 .25 Courses 1 4.42 <.01 Teachers 1 2.95 .04 In all four constructs, principals of rural school s had higher mean scores than any other group of principals in reference to the geographic location of the school. Additionally, principals of schools in urban areas consistently had the lowest mean scores on all four constructs of any other group in refe rence to the geographic location of the school (Table 4 21). Table 4 2 1 Summary of Means for perceptions of principals based on the geographic region of the school Construct Geographic Location f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 15 3.47 .60 2 15 4.14 .59 3 12 3.98 .68 4 26 4.19 .35 Community 1 15 3.65 .52 2 16 3.80 .71 3 12 3.78 .75 4 26 4.05 .61

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74 Table 4 21. Continued Construct Geographic Location f Mean Standard Deviation Courses 1 15 3.47 .55 2 15 3.87 .44 3 12 3.83 .57 4 26 4.05 .43 Teachers 1 13 3.81 .64 2 13 3.93 .76 3 11 3.94 .69 4 23 4.35 .44 Note: In the Geographic Location column, urban is represented by 1, suburban is represented by 2, town is represented by 3, and rural is represented by 4. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals in reference to the percentage of students in their school that were eligible for free or reduced lunch as perceptions by schools that had less than 25% ( n =7) of their population eligible for free or reduced lunch, 26 50% ( n =28) of their population eligible for free or reduced lunch, 51 75% ( n =31) of their population eligible for free or reduced lunch, and 76 100% ( n =2) of their population eligible for free or reduced lunch. No significant differences were found between groups based on students eligibility for free or reduced lunch. An ANOVA was calculated to compare the perceptions of principals in reference to if the pr Only 5.8% ( n =4) schools made AYP in the previous school year. A significant difference was found of p =.01 on the perceptions of principal regarding the benefits of agricultural e ducation to students ( Table 4 2 2 ).

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75 Table 4 2 2 S ummary of ANOVA measures for perceptions of principals whose schools did and did not make AYP Construct d f F p Student Benefits 1 6.12 .01 Community 1 2.69 .10 Courses 1 2.61 .11 Teachers 1 1.34 .25 P benefits to students from agricultural education programs. The mean score for principals whose school did make AYP was 3.29 (SD=.60) and 4.02 (SD=.57) for principals whose school did n ot make AYP ( Table 4 23). Table 4 2 3 Summary of Means for perceptions of principals whose schools did and did not make AYP Construct AYP f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 4 3.29 .60 2 63 4.02 .57 Community 1 4 3.33 .13 2 64 3.88 .65 Cou rses 1 4 3.43 .20 2 63 3.86 .53 Teachers 1 3 3.66 .57 2 59 4.12 .64 Note: In AYP, 1=Yes, 2=No. Descriptive statistics were calculated for demographic characteristics and views toward agricultural education programs as reported by superintendents. De scriptive statistics were calculated in relation to the following demographic characteristics for superintendents: if the superintendent was elected or appointed, gender, previous subject taught, if the superintendent took an agricultural education class w hen in high

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76 school, if the superintendent had any work experience in the field of agriculture, if a new agricultural education program had ever been started in the supe system, and if an agricultural education program had ever been discontinued in the Descriptive statistics were calculated regarding the perceptions of superintendents in reference to whether the superinte ndent was elected versus appointed. Only 33.33% ( n =15) superintendents were appointed in the population of superintendents. Overall, superintendents who were appointed had more positive perceptions of agricultural education programs ( Table 4 24). Table 4 24 Summary of Means for whether the superintendent was elected or appointed Construct Elected or Appointed f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 30 4.02 .47 2 15 4.29 .39 Community 1 30 3.94 .66 2 15 4.18 .46 Courses 1 30 3.84 .45 2 15 4 .12 .44 Teachers 1 30 3.91 .60 2 15 3.97 .51 Note: In the Elected or Appointed column, 1=Yes and 2=No. Descriptive statistics were calculated regarding the perceptions of superintendents in reference to gender. Only 35.55% ( n =16) superintendents were female. Female superintendents had higher perceptions of the quality of agricultural education programs on all four constructs. Male superintendents had lower perceptions of agricultural education programs on all four constructs ( Table 4 2 5 ).

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77 Table 4 2 5 Summary of Means for gender of superintendents Construct Gender f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 29 4.02 .46 2 16 4.27 .42 Community 1 29 3.82 .46 2 16 4.13 .40 Courses 1 29 3.93 .67 2 16 4.18 .44 Teachers 1 29 3.83 .51 2 16 4.11 .63 Note: In Gender, 1=Male and 2=Female. Descriptive statistics were calculated regarding perceptions of superintendents based on the subject that they taught prior to going into administration. Categories were comprised of superintendents who previous ly taught math or science, agricultural education, and other subjects such as English or social studies. Only 9% (n=3) superintendents taught agricultural education, 39.39% (n=13) taught math or science, and 51.51% (n=17) taught another subject. Overall, former agricultural educators had the highest means on all four constructs. Both former math and science as well as other former teachers had positive perceptions of agricultural education programs ( Table 4 2 6 ). Table 4 2 6 Summary of means for the subj ect taught prior to going into administration Construct Subject Taught f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 13 4.00 .43 2 3 4.50 .33 3 17 4.08 .48 Community 1 13 3.84 .76 2 3 4.46 .41 3 17 3.94 .55

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78 Table 4 2 6 Continued Construct Subject Taught f Mean Standard Deviation Courses 1 13 3.80 .44 2 3 4.20 .43 3 17 3.94 .49 Teachers 1 13 3.89 .62 2 3 4.13 .11 3 17 3.88 .65 Note: In Subject Taught, 1=Math or Science Teachers, 2= Ag. Teachers, and 3=Other Teachers. De scriptive statisti cs were calculated regarding perceptions of superintendents based on whether or not the superintendent had taken an agricultural education class while in high school. Only 23.25% (n=10) superintendents had taken an agricultural education class while in hi gh school. Superintendents that had taken an agricultural education class had more positive perceptions regarding the agricultural education program to the community. Superintendents who had taken agricultural education classes in high school had more po sitive perceptions of the quality of agricultural education teachers. Superintendents who had not taken agricultural education classes in high school had more positive perceptions of the student benefits and courses in agricultural education programs ( Tab le 4 2 7 ). Table 4 2 7 Summary of means of whether or not the Superintendent had taken an agricultural education course when in high school Construct Ag Ed Class f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 10 4.08 .50 2 33 4.10 .44 Community 1 10 4.2 0 .50 2 33 3.95 .63 Courses 1 10 3.86 .41 2 33 3.94 .47 Teachers 1 10 4.02 .47 2 33 3.87 .58 Note: In Ag Ed Class, 1=Yes and 2=No.

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79 Descriptive statistics were calculated regarding the perceptions of superintendents based on whether or not the supe class while in high school. Only 32.55% ( n an agricultural education class while in high school. No major differences were observed between the two groups ( Table 4 2 8 ). Table 4 2 8 agricultural education class in high school Construct Child Taken Ag Ed Class f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 14 4.10 .56 2 29 4.09 .40 Commun ity 1 14 4.18 .60 2 29 3.92 .60 Courses 1 14 3.86 .50 2 29 3.95 .44 Teachers 1 14 3.90 .76 2 29 3.91 .44 Note: In Child Taken Ag Ed Class, 1=Yes and 2=No Descriptive statistics were calculated regarding the perceptions of superintendents based on whether or not the superintendent had work experience in the field of agriculture. A total of 46.51% ( n =20) superintendents had work experience in the field of agriculture. Superintendents who had work experience in the field of agriculture had more posi tive perceptions of agricultural education programs on the student benefits construct, the community construct, and the teachers construct. Superintendents who did not have work experience in the field of agriculture had more positive perceptions on the c ourses construct ( Table 4 2 9 ).

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80 Table 4 2 9 Summary of means for whether the superintendent had work experience in the field of agriculture Construct Ag Work Experience f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 20 4.12 .49 2 23 4.08 .42 Community 1 20 4.04 .71 2 23 3.97 .52 Courses 1 20 3.90 .46 2 23 3.94 .46 Teachers 1 20 3.97 .65 2 23 3.85 .46 Note: In Ag Work Experience, 1=Yes and 2=No. Descriptive statistics were calculated regarding the perceptions of superintendents based on whether or not a new agricultural education program had ever been started in n =9) superintendents had ever had an agricultural education program start in their school district. No major differences were observed between the two groups ( Table 4 30 ). Table 4 30 Summary of means for if an agricultural education program had ever been started in their school district. Construct Ag Program Started f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 9 4.11 .30 2 34 4.13 .5 0 Community 1 9 4.15 .34 2 34 3.97 .66 Courses 1 9 4.04 .36 2 34 3.91 .50 Teachers 1 9 3.86 .37 2 34 3.94 .62 Note: In Ag Program Started, 1=Yes and 2=No

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81 Descriptive statistics were calculated regarding the perceptions of superintendents based on whether or not an agricultural education program had ever been discontinued had an agricultural education program discontinued in their school district. Superintendents who had been in a school system where the agricultural education program had been discontinued had less positive perceptions of agricultural education programs on all four constructs than those superintendents who had never had an agricultural education pr ogram discontinued in their school system ( Table 4 3 1 ). Table 4 3 1 Summary of means for if an agricultural education program had ever been discontinued in their school system. Construct Ag Program Discontinued f Mean Standard Deviation Student Benefits 1 5 3.82 .41 2 39 4.15 .46 Community 1 5 3.64 .51 2 39 4.07 .61 Courses 1 5 3.75 .44 2 39 3.97 .47 Teachers 1 5 3.60 .50 2 39 3.97 .57 Note: In Ag Program Discontinued, 1=Yes and 2=No Objective 6: Understand the I tems that Florida P rincipals a nd S uperintendents T ake into C ons ideration when M aking P rogram F u nding D ecisions One open ended question was asked to assess how principals and superintendents make decisions regarding the funding of programs. Five major themes emerged from both principa ls and superintendents. The fives themes were summarized and grouped as student achievement, student interest, funding, state and federal mandates, and local needs and community interest.

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82 Principals most frequently mentioned student achievement and what was in the all principal responses. The next most frequent response was student interest. St udent demand for the courses and the number of students in the program were a major consideration of principals when making decisions regarding programs. The next most common response was funding availability. Much of the funding was dependent of Perkins money and the total cost of the program. State mandates were a common response. State and federal mandates were mentioned in the form of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test ( FCAT ) Annual Yearly Progress ( AYP ) goals, class size requirements, reinf orcement of standards, and graduation requirements. Local needs and community interest were taken into consideration by principals when making there careers in post se is similar to football, certain students would be drop outs if it were not for the National Superintendents had the same five themes but mentioned them at different frequencies than principals. The most common theme among superintendents was also best for our next most common theme among superintendents was funding. Many superintendents mentioned both the total program cost and the cost per student as being important.

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83 Some superintendents men tioned that funding sources must be available. The next most common theme was state and federal mandates. Superintendents mentioned more specific aspects of funding such as school grade. Student interest was mentioned by superintendents as being somethi ng to take into consideration when making program funding decisions. The number of students served by the program as well as participation in the program was mentioned by superintendents. Additionally, community and local industry needs were important to superintendents when making decisions regarding program funding. Summary This chapter outlined the findings of this quantitative descriptive survey design. An n of 71 principals as well as an N of 45 superintendents participated in this study. Non respo nse error was addressed by comparing early and late respondents on both the online form and the paper form of the questionnaire, as well as comparing the online Alpha and all principal constructs were deemed reliable. Superintendent constructs and superintendents had high mean scores on all four constructs when ranking agricultural educ ation programs. No significant differences were found between principal and superintendent perceptions of agricultural education programs. Significant differences were found on all four constructs between principals who had an agricultural education prog ram at their school versus principals who did not have agricultural education programs at their schools. Principals with agricultural education programs at their schools had higher perceptions of agricultural education programs. ANOVAs were used to exami ne any relationships between demographic characteristics and views

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84 toward agricultural education and many significant differences were found when comparing groups based on demographics.

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85 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECO MMENDATIONS Overview Purpose and Objec tives This study was designed to determine the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals and superintendents regarding agricultural education. Perceptions were sought from Florida secondary school principals with and without agricultural educatio n programs to determine if a relationship existed between perceptions based on the absence of an agricultural education program. Perceptions of Florida public school superintendents and Florida secondary school principals were compared. The following obj ectives were investigated to accomplish the purpose of this study: Determine the perceptions of Florida public school superintendents toward secondary agricultural education programs. Determine the perceptions of Florida public school principals toward sec ondary agricultural education programs. Compare the perceptions of Florida public school superintendents and principals toward secondary agricultural education programs. Determine the influence of the presence of a local secondary agricultural education pr ogram on the perceptions of principals. Examine the relationships between demographic characteristics and views toward secondary agricultural education programs as reported by principals and superintendents. Understand the items that Florida principals and superintendents take into cons ideration when making program fu nding decisions. Methods This quantitative study used a descriptive survey design. A modified questionnaire originally designed by Kalme and Dyer (2000) was used to ascertain the perceptions o f principals and superintendents toward agricultural education. Both web based and

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86 mailed questionnaires were distributed to determine perceptions. Threats to internal validity were addressed. Threats to internal validity including history, selection, st atistical regression, attrition and maturation, instrumentation, experimenter effects, and subject effects were controlled for when possible. Demographic data was collected as well as means scores of perceptions of agricultural education programs. The re sults were analyzed using SPSS Version 17.0 and ANOVAs were calculated to determine relationships between demographics and mean scores. Summary of Findings Objective 1: Determine the Perceptions o f Florida Public School Superintendents t oward Secondary Ag ricultural Education Programs. Overall, superintendents seem to be supportive of agricultural education programs and value their place in the community. Superintendents view agricultural education programs as beneficial for students. Additionally, superi ntendents were supportive and had a positive opinion regarding the courses that are being offered to students as well as the teachers that are teaching the courses. Objective 2: Determine t he Perceptions o f Florida Public School Principals t oward Seconda ry Agricultural Education Programs. positive opinions of agricultural education programs. Principals believed that agricultural education teachers were of high quality. Additionally, principals had positive views of the courses b eing taught in agricultural education. Principals were positive of the benefits for students enrolled in agricultural education programs. Principals believed that agricultural education programs were positive forces in their communities.

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87 Objective 3: Com pare t he Perceptions o f Florida Public School Superintendents a nd Principals t oward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs. No significant differences were found between principals and superintendents on any of the four constructs measuring perceptions of agricultural education programs. Objective 4: Determine t he Influence o f t he Presence o f a Local Secondary Agricultural Education Program o n t he Perceptions o f Principals. All constructs demonstrated a significant difference between the two groups of principals. When analyzing the means of principals with and without a local agricultural education program at their school, all means were significantly higher for principals with agricultural education programs at their school. Objective 5: Examine t he Relationships b etween Demographic Characteristics a nd Views t oward Secondary Agricultural Education Programs a s Reported b y Principals a nd Superintendents. Principals ANOVAs were calculated in relation to the following demographic characteristics for prin cipals. No significant differences were found between the following groups: gender, school size, whether or not an agricultural education program had been were fou nd between the following groups: previous subject taught, racial breakdown of the school, if the principal had taken an agricultural education class when in high school, if the principals child had taken an agricultural education class, if the principal ha d work experience in the field of agriculture, if the principal had been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been started, the geographic region of the school, and if the school made AYP last year. A significant difference wa s found construct. Former agricultural educators ranked the quality of courses the highest of the

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88 three groups. Former science and math teachers ranked the quality of agricultural education classes next highest and other former teachers ranked the quality of agricultural education courses lowest. Overall, the principals who were former agricultural educators had the highest mean score for all four constructs. Science and math teachers had the second highest mean score f or the three categories with mean scores that demonstrated positive regard for agricultural education programs. Principals who taught other subjects ranked all four constructs lower than any other group. A significant difference was found between groups i n reference to the racial highest percentage of minorities had the lowest perceptions of the quality of agricultural education courses. However, this trend was not consiste nt as the percentage of minorities decreased through the categories. The group with the highest perceptions of the quality of agricultural education courses was the group with 51 75% white population. A significant difference was found between groups of p rincipals who had and had not taken an agricultural education class in high school. Principals who had taken an agricultural education class in high school had more positive perceptions when ranking the quality of agricultural education classes compared t o principals who had not taken an agricultural education class. Significant differences were found when comparing groups of principals whose child had and had not taken an agricultural education class. Principals whose child had taken an agricultural educ ation course had the highest means on all four constructs,

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89 whereas principals whose child had not taken an agricultural education class had overall lower mean scores on all four constructs. Significant differences were found between groups of principals wh o had and in the field of agriculture had higher perceptions of agricultural education programs. Principals without work experience in the field of agriculture had o verall lower perceptions of agricultural education programs. Significant differences were found on all four constructs when comparing the perceptions of principals who had and had not been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been sta rted. For all four constructs, principals who had been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been started had higher mean scores. Although, all perceptions were high, the principals who had been at schools where a new agricultural ed ucation program was started, had significantly more positive perceptions than principals who had not ever been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been started. Significant differences were found between the groups of principals base d of the geographic region of their school. In all four constructs, principals of rural schools had higher mean scores than any other group of principals in reference to the geographic location of the school. Additionally, principals of schools in urban areas consistently had the lowest mean scores on all four constructs of any other group in reference to the geographic location of the school. A significant difference was found between groups in reference to whether or not the principals school had made A

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90 did make AYP had much lower perceptions of the benefits to students from agricultural education programs. Superintendents Descriptive statistics were calculated in relation to demographics character istics of superintendents in the following areas: whether the superintendent was elected versus appointed, in reference to gender, based on the subject that they taught prior to going into administration, whether or not the superintendent had taken an agr icultural taken an agricultural education class while in high school, whether or not the superintendent had work experience in the field of agriculture, whether or not a ne w district, and whether or not an agricultural education program had ever been Overall, superintendents who were a ppointed had more positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Male superintendents had lower perceptions of agricultural education programs on all four constructs. F ormer agricultural educators had the highest means on all four constructs. Both former math and science as well as other former teachers had positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Superintendents that had taken an agricultural education class had more positive perceptions regarding the agricultural education program to the community. Superintendents who had taken agricultural education classes in high school had more positive perceptions of the quality of agricultural education teachers. Superintendents who had not taken agricultural education classes in hi gh school had more positive perceptions of the student benefits and courses in agricultural education programs. No

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91 major differences were observed between the two groups based on whether or not the n class in high school. Superintendents who did not have work experience in the field of agriculture had more positive perceptions on the courses construct. No major differences were observed between the two groups based on whether a new agricultural edu cation program had been started in the school district. Superintends who had been in a school system where the agricultural education program had been discontinued had less positive perceptions of agricultural education programs on all fo ur constructs than those superintendents who had never had an agricultural education program discontinued in their school system Objective 6: Understand t he Items t hat Florida Principals a nd Superintendents Take Into Cons ideration When Making Program Fu nding Decisions. Five overall themes were found for both principals and superintendents in reference to how principals and superintendents make decisions regarding funding of programs. Principals and superintendents indicated that they take the following items into consideration when making program funding decisions: student a chievement, student interest, fu nding, state and federal mandates, and local needs and community interest. Conclusions Based on the comparison of early and late respondents in prin of agricultural education programs, the findings and conclusions can be generalized to the entire population of Florida principals. Based on the comparison of early and late ducation programs, the findings and conclusions can be generalized to the entire population with the exception

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92 population of Florida superintendents. The following conclusi ons were drawn from the results of this study. 1. Florida superintendents have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. 2. Florida principals have p ositive perceptions of agricultural education programs. 3. The presence of a local se condary agricultural education program influences the perceptions of Florida secondary school principals. 4. agricultural education programs. 5. The racial breakdown of a scho agricultural education courses. 6. Perceptions of agricultural education programs are influenced by whether principals took an agricultural education class in high school. 7. Perceptions of agricultural educ ation programs are influenced by whether a 8. Perceptions of agricultural education programs are influenced by whether a principal had work experience in the field of agriculture. 9. Perceptions o f agricultural education programs are influenced by whether a principal had been at a school where a new agricultural education program was started. 10. agricultural education progra ms. 11. Principal perceptions of the student benefits of agricultural education programs are influenced by the school status, or whether the school made AYP in the previous school year. 12. Superintendents who were appointed have more positive percepti ons of agricultural education programs versus superintendents who were elected. 13. agricultural education courses. 14. Superintend ents who have been in a school system where th e agricultural education program had been discontinued have less positive perceptions of

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93 agricultural education programs than those superintendents who have never had an agricultural education program discontinued in their school system. 15. Student achi evement is the main concern of principals and superintendents when making program funding decisions. Discussion and Implications Conclusion 1: Florida superintendents have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Florida superintendents hel d positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Florida superintendents believed that agricultural education programs were beneficial for students, the courses were of high quality, the agricultural educators were of high quality, and that agri cultural education programs are important to the community. These results match the findings of Pavelock, Ullrich, Hanagriff, and Baer (2003) who reported that Texas superintendents had positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. These resul ts also match the findings of Pavelock, Vaughn, and Kieth (2001) who determined that, overall, Texas superintendents had positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. This study reflected the findings of previous studies regarding perceptions o f agricultural education programs. Conclusion 2: Florida principals have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Florida principals held positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. Florida principals believed that agricultur al education programs were beneficial for students, the courses were of high quality, the agricultural educators were of high quality, and that agricultural education programs are important to the community. This 000) study that found that Iowa principals have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs, courses, and teachers.

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94 Conclusion 3: The presence of a local secondary agricultural education program influences the perceptions of Florida secondary s chool principals. had much higher and more positive perceptions of the student benefits of agricultural education programs, the quality of the courses, the quality of the ag ricultural educators, and the importance of agricultural education programs to the community. This finding is consistent with the conceptual model of this study which was based in Fishbein & iors. The perceptions of principals without agricultural education programs were much lower than those of principals who did have an agricultural education program at their school. One would not an agricultural education program exists at a school. Conclusion 4: perceptions of agricultural education programs. This study indicated that principals who were former agricultural educato rs had the highest regard for all four constructs, science and math teachers had the second highest regard for the agricultural education programs, and principals who taught other subjects ranked all four constructs lower than any other group. However, al l groups ranked agricultural education programs high. This corresponds with the findings of more positive perceptions of vocational education. Additionally, thus st udy matched the results of Pavelock, Ullrich, Hanagriff, and Baer (2003) which found that regardless of

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95 their area of teaching when teaching high school, Texas superintendents perceived agricultural education positively. Conclusion 5: The racial breakd perceptions of agricultural education courses. Principals of schools who had 25% or less white population had the lowest perceptions of agricultural education programs. However, this finding should be analyzed wi th caution because there was only an n of four for principals with 25% or less white population. However, this group only had moderately positive views of agricultural education programs. Conclusion 6: Perceptions of agricultural education programs are i nfluenced by whether principals took an agricultural education class in high school. In this study, principals who had taken an agricultural education class in high school had more positive perceptions when ranking the quality of agricultural education cla sses compared to principals who had not taken an agricultural education class. This indicated that the superintendents who had more experience with agricultural education be lieved that agricultural education courses are less vocational and more academic. correlation between higher perceptions in Iowa principals and being enrolled in an agricultu ral education class when the principal was in high school, compared to principals who had never taken an agricultural education class. Conclusion 7: Perceptions of agricultural education programs are influenced by ultural education class.

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96 In this study, principals whose child had taken an agricultural education course had the most positive perceptions of agricultural education, whereas principals whose child had not taken an agricultural education class had overall lower perceptions. This did not match the findings of Kalme (1998) who indicated that principals whose child had been enrolled in agricultural education did not have higher perceptions of agricultural education programs than principals whose children had not been enrolled in agricultural education classes. Conclusion 8: Perceptions of agricultural education programs are influenced by whether a principal had work experience in the field of agriculture. However, this (1998) study whi ch indicated that experience in the agriculture industry did not directly correlate with higher perceptions of agricultural education programs in Iowa. Conclusion 9: Perceptions of agricultural education programs are influenced by whether a principal had b een at a school where a new agricultural education program was started. Principals who had been at a school where a new agricultural education program had been started had very positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. This study conclude s that principals who have been at schools where new agricultural education programs have been started are more supportive of agricultural education perceptions in fluenced the existence of an agricultural education program at the school. Conclusion 10: perceptions of agricultural education programs.

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97 In this study, principals of rural schools had higher mea n scores than any other group of principals in reference to the geographic location of the school. This study had larger areas did not agree to the high level that super intendents in smaller schools did, that agricultural education programs are useful in helping at risk students stay interested in school. Conclusion 11: Principal perceptions of the student benefits of agricultural education programs are influenced by the school status, or whether the school made AYP in the previous school year. of the benefits to students from agricultural education programs. Analysis of this finding should be conducted with caution because of the 71 responses from principals in this study, only four schools made AYP last school year. This finding is consistent with literature from Martin, Fritzsche, and Ball ( 2006 ) which indicated that the expert panelists agreed that because CTE courses are not included in NCLB mandates, that these programs have the potential to be lowered in priority when decision makers have to make hard choices. The influence of school status should be further investigated to determine if a higher n Conclusion 12: Superintendents who were appointed have more positive perceptions of agricultural education programs versus superintendents who were elected. In this study, superintendents w ho were appointed had more positive perceptions of agricultural education programs versus superintendents who were elected. It is

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98 possible that superintendents who were appointed had more experience with agricultural education. This study concludes that appointed superintendents are more favorable towards agricultural education program. More research is needed in this area to determine if appointed superintendents consistently have more positive perceptions. Conclusion 13: Gender has an influence in sup quality of agricultural education courses. In this study, female superintendents had higher perceptions of the quality of agricultural education courses than male superintendents. However, when analyzing the mean scores, t he results may have been statistically significant but the difference in means was not practically significant. This finding matches a study conducted by Dyer and Osborne (1999) which indicated that male guidance counselors perceived agricultural educatio n to be a more traditional type of course than females. However, this same study found that male counselors ranked the competency of agricultural educators as very high, whereas female counselors only ranked the competency of agricultural educations as hi gh (Dyer & Osborne, 1999). Gender influences should be further investigated to determine if a consistent difference exists. Conclusion 14: Superintend ents who have been in a school system where the agricultural education program had been discontinued ha ve less positive perceptions of agricultural education programs than those superintendents who have never had an agricultural education program discontinued in their school system. In this study, superintendents who had been in a school system where an a gricultural education program had been discontinued had much less positive perceptions of agricultural education programs. It is possible that the superintendent

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99 had something to do with discontinuing the agricultural education program in their school sys tem thus decreasing their perceptions of agricultural education programs. This study concludes that if an agricultural education program has been discontinued in their school systems that superintendents have less positive perceptions of agricultural educ ation programs. More research is needed in this area to determine if this finding is indicated in further studies. Conclusion 15: Student achievement is the main concern of principals and superintendents when making program funding decisions. In this stu dy, when asked what factors are taken into consideration when making program funding decisions, both superintendents and principals mentioned most frequently student achievement and the need for the program to boost student achievement. This matches comme ntary from Jason Leahy of the Illinois Principal Association which stated that the programs that support student achievement are the programs that tend to stick around. This study concludes that student achievement is the most important factor that princi pals and superintendents consider when making program funding decisions. Recommendations Recommendations for Practice Based on the findings and conclusion, the following recommendations for practice should be considered. 1. Because superintendents and pri ncipals reported that their number one concern was student achievement, when promoting agricultural education programs, agricultural educators should focus on the specific aspects of the program that enhance student achievement. 2. Agricultural educators and state agricultural edu cation staff should promote the aspects of agricultural education programs that specifically enhance student

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100 achievement and the quality of agricultural education programs to principals who do not currently have agricultural educ a tion programs at their schools. 3. Materials highlighting the specific aspects of agricultural education programs that enhance student achievement, specifically in the reinforcement of academic concepts should be created and distributed to other teachers in the school who may become principals or superintendents one day 4. The profession should prepare agricultural educators for leadership positions as administrators Of the 116 total responses from superintendents and principals, only 6 (5%) of respon dents reported being former agricultural education teachers. 5. Greater attempts at inclusion of minority students, as well as urban students should be made. Past research has made it clear that this has been an issue, yet greater efforts are needed to t ruly reach out to this population of students. 6. A unified voice from the profession is needed to advertise how the total program of agricultural education enhances student achievement. Administrators view the three components of agricultural education as one entity, therefore the student achievement provided by the total program should be advertised, not each individual component. Recommendation for practice 1: Because superintendents and principals reported that their number one concern was student ach ievement, when promoting agricultural education programs, agricultural educators should focus on the specific aspects of the program that enhance student achievement. Since other researchers (Kalme & Dyer, 2000; Pavelock, Ullrich, Hanagriff, & Baer, 2003; Pavelock, Vaughn, and Kieth, 2001) have concluded that administrators have positive perceptions of agricultural education programs, agricultural educators should continue to promote the positive benefits of agricultural education to students. As proposed in the conceptual model, if administrators continue to have positive perceptions of agricultural education, than agricultural education should have a place in public education for years to come. However, agricultural educators have long focused on what th ey perceive to be the student benefits of their programs. Administrators had a clear voice when stating the factors that they considered when making decisions, and

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101 student achievement was the number one theme. Agricultural educators should focus on speci fic aspects of their programs that enhance student achievement. Ricketts, Duncan, and Peake (2006) found that students who took agricultural education classes scored higher on the science portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test. If agricultura l education can help students score higher on State mandated tests, student achievement is enhanced, placing agricultural education in a positive position with administrators. Materials should be created that focus on student achievement in agricultural education. Agricultural educators should focus on the aspects of student benefits that boost student achievement when promoting programs. Short yet concise information regarding the reinforcement of academic material which boosts student test scores shou ld be emphasized when promoting programs. Additionally, practical and applied understanding of scientific and math concepts should be advertised as boosting student achievement when promoting programs. Only after principals and superintendents can see th e clear link between agricultural education programs and student achievement should the profession advertise all the other student benefits of agricultural education programs such as leadership skill development and scholarships. Additionally, the profess ion should figure out how to get more administrators involved in agricultural education programs. Inviting administrators to agricultural education program functions, asking them to be guest judges for a local agriscience fair, and letting administrators know what is going on in the program is a great place to start. However, agricultural educators should reach out further to administrators to allow them to become more involved in agricultural education programs.

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102 Recommendation for practice 2: Agricultura l educators and state agricultural education staff should promote the aspects of agricultural education programs that specifically enhance student achievement as well as the quality of agricultural education programs to principals who do not currently have agricultural educ ation programs at their schools. Specific materials should be created to point out the aspects of agricultural education programs that enhance student achievement. Since student achievement is the number one priority of principals with a nd without agricultural education programs, student achievement in agricultural education. Model programs could be displayed to principals who are not familiar with a gricultural education programs or have had a negative experience with agricultural education programs. If perceptions of principals can influence the existence of agricultural education programs, than serious effort should be placed in promoting more posi tive perceptions of agricultural education programs to p rincipals who do not currently h ave programs at their schools. Representatives from m odel programs could attend conferences that are frequented by principals so that these principals can see evidence of the benefit s of agricultural education to students. Tremendous outreach through targeted high power marketing tools should be utilized in this area for growth of agricultural education programs nationwide and particularly in Florida. Recommendation f or practice 3: Materials highlighting the specific aspects of agricultural education programs that enhance student achievement, specifically in the

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103 reinforcement of academic concepts, should be created and distributed to other teachers in the school who ma y become principals or superintendents one day Since principals generally come from the pool of teachers at a school, agricultural educators should make sure that other teachers at their school are aware of the quality of their programs particularly how academic concepts are reinforced in the agricultural education classroom This could be accomplished through teacher collaboration especially in academic subjects that would demonstrate how academic concepts can be reinforced in the agricultural education classroom. Additionally, these materials should cover the standards that are addresses in agricultural education that correlate the standards for academic areas to demonstrate the cohesive nature of agricultural education curriculum and academic curricul um. Research that points out that students involved in agricultural education courses score higher on state tests should also be broadcasted to academic teachers. Listing specific subject areas in which agricultural education can provide hands on and app lied knowledge to academic subjects should be demonstrated to teachers in academic areas to prove that agricultural education can provide a more meaningful understanding of academic concepts. Recommendation for practice 4: The profession should prepare agricultural educators for leadership positions as administrators The profession should provide professional opportunities that would prepare agricultural educators for leadership positions. Of the 116 total responses from superintendents and principals, only 6 (5%) of respondents reported being former agricultural education teachers. For continued support of agricultural education programs, more agricultural educators should consider going into leadership positions.

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104 It is important to have the experien ce of a former agricultural educator at the table when making decisions. This could be provided through workshops at local, state, and national meetings. Recommendation for practice 5 : Greater attempts at inclusion of minority students, as well as urban students should be made. Past research has made it clear that this has been an issue, yet greater efforts are needed to truly reach out to this population of students. Dyer and Breja (2003) stated that agricultural education programs have typically stru ggled recruiting minority students. Talbert and Edwin (2008) recommended that University teacher preparation programs require more classes to prepare future teachers to teach in a culturally diverse environment. Past research has indicated that the profe ssion should work on including minority students. However, as indicated by principals, the profession has not quite reached the goal of involving more minorities and urban students. Greater attempts at inclusion should be made because a gricultural educat ion programs are beneficial for all students regardless of where they live or their race. Students in urban areas can benefit just as much as rural students from agricultural education programs. Additionally, minorities can benefit just as much as white students from agricultural education programs. If principals see that student achievement is enhanced fr om minority involvement in agricultural education, they may have more positive perceptions of agriculture education programs. Research claims that buil ding relationships with students is crucial for success (Darling Hammond & Bransfor d, 2005). Agricultural educators should make a greater effort to build relationships with minority students. In getting to know minority students,

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105 agricultural educators s hould discover the future aspirations of students and help design a plan for how agricultural education can help them reach their goals. There is no one size fits all approach to reaching individual students besides getting to know them and helping them r each their own goals. Agricultural education can offer every student a bright future, but this is on an individual basis. If more minorities are to become involved in agricultural education, greater efforts on behalf of agricultural educators should be m ade to get to know minority students on an individual basis to draw them into the program. Recommendation for practice 6 : A unified voice from the profession is needed to advertise how the total program of agricultural education enhances student achieve ment. Administrators view the three components of agricultural education as one entity, therefore the student achievement provided by the total program should be advertised, not each individual component. Administrators used the terms agricultural educati on and FFA interchangeably and do not seem to have a distinction between the three components. Because FFA and agricultural education are viewed positively, the distinction is not necessary when seeking support from administrators. A unified voice statin g the total program of agricultural education promotes student achievement is necessary to enhance support of agricultural education programs. A new conversation should be started in the profession to really demonstrate how student achievement is enhanced through agricultural education programs. If the profession begins to refocus its marketing strategies on the basis of student achievement, will perceptions of agricultural education programs become more positive?

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106 Recommendations for Further Inquiry Base d on the results and conclusion of this study, the following recommendations for future inquiry should be reviewed. 1. A larger study with more participants should be conducted. 2. More in depth analysis as to why principals without agricultural educatio n programs at their school had much lower perceptions of agricultural education programs. 3. Gender influences should be further investigated to determine if a consistent difference exists. 4. The influence of school status should be further investig ated to determine if a higher n 5. A study analyzing message framing of the promotion of agricultural education should be conducted. Recommendations for further inquiry 1: A larger study with more pa rticipants should be conducted. Due to response rate, this study did not have enough participants to make some correlations due to the low number in certain subgroups. A larger study could add to the understanding of how agricultural education programs a re viewed by people in decision making positions. Additionally, a larger study could provide more information into how certain demographics influence perceptions of agricultural education programs. Recommendations for further inquiry 2: More in depth anal ysis as to why principals without agricultural education programs at their school had much lower perceptions of agricultural education programs. A qualitative study with a quantitative follow up would be an interesting addition to this data set. It woul d be interesting to understand if principals without agricultural education programs simply do not have much experience with agricultural education or

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107 if they have had a bad experience in the past with agricultural education programs. Additionally, it wou ld be interesting to discover if the demonstration of a model program would change their perceptions of agricultural education programs. Recommendations for further inquiry 3: Gender influences should be further investigated to determine if a consistent difference exists. More data is needed to discover if there is a consistent difference between male and female regarding their perceptions of agricultural education. Several studies indicated inconsistent findings regarding gender. Additionally, in th is study, only one construct demonstrated a significant difference and only on superintendents. Therefore, more information is needed to make a decision as to whether gender shows a consistent difference. Recommendation for further inquiry 4: The inf luence of school status should be further investigated to determine if a higher n the results. Very few schools in this study actually made AYP last year. If more schools could be located that actually made AYP, an interesting study would be to see if any significant differences were found with a high n. Recommendation for further inquiry 5: A study analyzing message framing of the promotion of agricultural education should be conducted. ne concern is student achievement. If the message of agricultural education becomes one of promoting student achievement, will perceptions of agricultural education programs improve?

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108 APPENDIX A IRB APPROVAL

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111 APPENDIX B LETTER TO PARTICIPAN TS Dear Principal: I am a graduate stude nt at the University of Florida As part of my Masters Thesis I am conducting a questionnaire, the purpose of which is to determine the perceptions of principals towards agricultural education. Participants will be asked to answer questions on a web based questionnaire that will take no longer than 10 15 minutes. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. No personal informatio n will be shared and results will only be shared in summary form. No names will be connected to responses so the data will be anonymous There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this study. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may discontinue your participation in the questionnaire at any time without consequence. However, your input is invaluable in helping us gain a clearer picture of how agricultural education programs are perc eived by people in leadership positions. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me at 352 392 0502 Ext. 244 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Brian Myers, at 352 392 0502 Ext.236. Questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant rights may be directed to the IRB02 office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611; (352) 392 0433. Thank you for your anticipated help in this effort. As a principal, we know that you are very busy, but your parti cipation is important, and greatly appreciated! Thank you again for your time and effort! Sincerely, Adrienne Gentry Graduate Assistant University of Florida Department of Agricultural Education and Communication agentry@ufl.edu Brian E. Myers, PhD As sociate Professor/Associate Chair Department of Agricultural Education and Communication bmyers@ufl.edu Agreement: I have read the procedure described. I voluntarily agree to participate and understand that by o participate in this study. If I choose not to participate, I will exit the survey.

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112 Hello Florida Superintendent, Last week a questionnaire was e mailed to you because you were randomly selected to help in a study about perceptions of agricultural educa tion programs. If you have already completed the questionnaire, please accept my sincere thanks. If not, please complete the questionnaire right away. I am especially grateful for your help with this important study. If you did not receive a questionna ire, please call me today at 352 392 0502, Ext. 244 or e mail me at agentry@ufl.edu and I will get another one to you today. Sincerely, Adrienne Gentry Graduate Assistant Department of Agricultural Education & Communication 408 Rolfs Hall (352)392 0502 e xt. 244 agentry@ufl.edu Please click the survey link below:

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113 Dear Superintendent : I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. As part of my Masters Thesis I am conducting a questionnaire, the purpose of which is to determine the perceptions o f superintendents towards agricultural education. Participants will be asked to answer questions on a web based questionnaire that will take no longer than 10 15 minutes. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Your identity wi ll be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. No personal information will be shared and results will only be shared in summary form. No names will be connected to responses so the data will be anonymous There are no anticipated risks, compen sation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this study. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may discontinue your participation in the questionnaire at any time without consequence. However, your input is invaluable in he lping us gain a clearer picture of how agricultural education programs are perceived by people in leadership positions. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me at 352 392 0502 Ext. 244 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Bria n Myers, at 352 392 0502 Ext.236. Questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant rights may be directed to the IRB02 office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611; (352) 392 0433. Thank you for your anticipated help in this effort. As a superintendent we know that you are very busy, but your participation is important, and greatly appreciated! Thank you again for your time and effort! Sincerely, Adrienne Gentry Graduate Assistant University of Florida Department of Agricultural Education and Communication agentry@ufl.edu Brian E. Myers, PhD Associate Professor/Associate Chair Department of Agricultural Education and Communication bmyers@uf l.edu Agreement: I have read the procedure described. I voluntarily agree to participate and understand that by participate, I will exit the survey.

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114 APPENDIX C INSTRUMENT

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120 LIST OF REFERENCES A Guide to Decision Making in Schools. (2010). Give kids good schools. Retrieved from http://www.givekidsgoodschools.org/main/index.cfm Ameri can Farm Bureau Federation (2009). Food & Farm facts Washington, D.C. Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Razavieh, A., & Sorensen, C. (2006). Introduction to research in education (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Bagley, W.C. (1908). Elective subjects in the high school curriculum. The School Review 16 (9), 580 593. Barnett, S.M. (1984). education programs in Texas (Doctoral dissertation). East Texas State University, Commerce, Texas. Retrieved fr om Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 8425031). Blandford, D., & Fulponi, L. (1999). Emerging public concerns in agriculture: domestic policies and international trade commitments. European Review of Agriculture Economics 26 (3),409 42 4. Blezek, A.G. (1987). Professionalism of vocational agriculture instructors as perceived by vocational agriculture instructors and superintendents in Nebraska public secondary schools. Faculty Publications: Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Commun ication Department University of Nebraska Lincoln Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/aglecfacpub/11 Bouvier, L., & Stein, S. (2001). Npg new study: Florida population explosion thr eatens environment, resources. PR Newswire Retrieved from http://www.npg.org/specialreports/FL/fl_report.html Braden, J.P., & Tayrose, M.P. (2007). Best Practices in educational accounta bility: high stakes testing and educational reform Best Practices in School Psychology 35 (2), 575 588. Bredeson, P.V. (1995, April). Superintendents' roles in curriculum development and instructional leadership: instructional visionaries, collaborators supporters, and delegators Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association San Francisco, CA Retrieved from http ://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/ 14/4c/ff.pdf Brister, M. (2008) Attitudes of agriscience teachers, counselors, administrators, and students toward selected agriscience programs in Mississippi ( Doctoral dissertatio n). Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi. Retrieved from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 3331448).

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121 Cantrell, J., & Weeks, B. (2004). Criteria public school administrators consider when hiring first year agricultural education teachers. Journal of Southern Agricultural Education Research 54 (1), 267 279. Carlson, R.O. (1961). Succession and performance among school superintendents. Administrative Science Quarterly 6 (2), 210 227. Cheek, J.G., Arrington, L.R., Carter S., & Randell, R.S. (1994). Relationship of supervised agricultural experience program participation and student achievement in agricultural education. Journal of Agricultural Education 35 (2), 1 5. Cross, R. (1980). A Description of decision making pat terns of school principals. The Journal of Educational Research 73 (3), 154 159. Darling Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Dillman, D.A., Smyth, J.D., & Christian, L.M (2009). Internet, mail, and mixed mode surveys Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. Dyer, J.E., & Breja, L.M. (2003). Problems in recruiting students into agricultural education programs: a delphi study of agriculture teacher perceptions. Journal of Agricultur al Education, 44(2), 75 85. Dyer, J.E., & Osborne, E.W. (1994). The influence of science based agriculture courses on Illinois guidance counselor attitudes. Proceedings of the Central Region Research Conference in Agricultural Education, St. Louis, Mi ssouri. Dyer, J.E., & Osborne, E.W. (1999). The Influence of science applications in agriculture courses on attitudes if Illinois guidance counselors at model student teaching centers. Journal of Agricultural Education 40 (4), 57 66. Eberts, R.W., & St one, J.A. (1988). Student achievement in public schools: do principals make a difference?. Economics of Education Review 7 (3), p. 291 299. FFA org (2010). What is Ffa?. Retrieved from http://f fa.org/index.cfm?method=c_about.about FHSAA (2010). Florida High School Athletic Association Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.fhsaa.org/sites/ default/files/attachments/2010/09/16/node 235/1011_handbook.pdf Fishbein, M. & Ajzen, I. (1975). Beliefs, Attitudes, Intentions, and Behaviors. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Publishing Co.

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122 Florida CTE State Profile (2009). Association for Career and Tech nical Education. Retrieved from http://www.acteonline.org/profile_fl.aspx Florida Department of Education. (February, 2010 18). Department of Education celebrates career and technical education programs. Retrieved from http://fldoe.org/news/2010/2010_02_18 2.asp Frick, W.C. (2009). Principals' value informed decision making, intrapersonal moral discord, and pathways to resolution. Journal of Educational Administration 47 (1), 50 74. Gates, S. M., Ringel, J.S., Santibanez, L., Guarino, C., G hosh Dastidar, B., & Brown, A. (2005). Mobility and turnover among school principals. Economics of Education Review 25 289 302. Grimes, T. (February, 2010 10). Cuts may affect schools 'ffa, fbla programs. San Pedro Valley News Sun Retrieved from http://www.bensonnews sun.com/articles/2010/02/13/news/news03.txt Hallinger, P. (1992). The Evolving role of American principals: fr om managerial to instructional transformational leaders. Journal of Educational Administration 30 (3), 35 49. Herbert, B. (2010, February 26). Emphasizing teaching, not the test. The Gainesville Sun Huh, M.Y. (1991). Louisiana principals' perceptions o f nontraditional vocational teachers and the importance of vocational education (Doctoral dissertation). Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Retrieved from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 9219545). Israel, G.D. (2009). Determining Sample Size. (2009). The Institute of food and agricultural sciences (IFAS ) Gainesville, FL: IFAS. Jewell, L.R. (1989). Opinions of school administrators concerning the purpose, community acceptance, a nd occupational placement as a basis for justification of vocational agriculture programs. Journal of Agricultural Education 30 (4), 52 57. Johnson, D.M., & Newman, M.E. (1993). Perceptions of administrators, guidance counselors, and science teachers conc erning pilot agriscience courses. Journal of Agricultural Education 34 (2), 46 54.

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123 Kalme, N. (1998). Perceptions of agricultural education programs by Iowa secondary school principals (Masters Thesis). Iowa State University. Ames, Iowa. Retrieved from W orldCat Dissertations (Publications OCLC : 39357592). Kalme, N., & Dyer, J.E. (2000). Perceptions of Iowa secondary school principals toward agricultural education. Journal of Agricultural Education 41 (4), 116 124. Kantrovich, A.J. (2007). A National s tudy of the supply and demand for teachers of agricultural education ( Research Report No. 35 ) American Association for Agricultural Education Retrieved from http://naae.ca.uky.edu/links/resources/PDF/Microsoft%20Word%20 %202007%20Supply%20and%20Demand%20study%20report.pdf Konnert, M.W. & Augenstein, J.J. (1995). The school superintendency: Leading education into the 21 st cent ury. Lancaster, PA: Technomic Publishing Company, Inc. Krumenaker, L. (2010). What it would take to increase the number of high school astronomy classes: a survey of principals and a comparison to astronomy teachers, and a prescription for change. Astrono my Education Review 9 (1), Retrieved from http://www.hermograph.com/highschool/HS%20Astronomy%20AER%20III.pdf doi: 10.3847/AER2009076 Lav, I.J., & Hudgins, E.J. (2008). Facing deficits, many states are imposing cuts that hurt vulnerable residents. Center on budget and policy priorities Retrieved from http://www.fcfep.org/Documents/Newsletter%204 10 08/3 13 08sfp.pdf Lindsay, P.H., & Norman, D.A. (1977). An Introduction to psychology, 2 nd ed New York, NY: Academic Press. MacManus, S.A., & Leddy, C.A. (2009). Florida's solid bellwether state status: alive and well in 2009, 1 8. Retrieved from University of South Florida http://www.sayfiereview.com/documents/Floridas_Solid_Bellwether_State_Status .pdf Marrs, J.B. (1983). (Doctoral dissertation). The University of Tenness ee, Knoxville, Tennessee. Retrieved from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 8316381). Martin, M. (May, 2010 03). Bangor school board cuts hours of popular ag teacher. West Salem Coulee News Retrieved from http://www.couleenews.com/articles/2010/05/03/news/01bsb.txt

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124 Martin, M.J., Fritzsche, J.A., & Ball, A.L. (2006). A Delphi study of teachers' and professionals' perceptions regarding the impact of the no child left behind legislation on secondary agricultural education programs. Journal of Agricultural Education 47 (1), 100 109. Martin, R.A. ( 1991 ) "The Essence of Agricultural Education." The Agricultural Education Magazine. 63 (8):21 22. McCarthy, R. (March 2010 03). Lindhurst farm program may face cuts. appealdemocrat.com Retrieved from http://www.appeal democrat.com/articles/lindhurst 92682 school high.html McMillan, J.H., & Schumacher, S. (2010). Research in Education Evidence Based Inquiry, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education. Miller, L.E. & Smith, K.L. (1983). Handling nonresponse issues. Journal of Extension, 24, 45 50. Miller, P.G. (1981 ). Attitudes held by selected public school administrators in Louisiana toward vocational education ( Doctoral dissertation). Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Retrieved from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 8126970). Mitani H. (2009). Per pupil expenditures approaching $10,000 EPE Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/rc/articles/200 9/01/21/sow0121.h27.html Mulkey, D. (1993). Education in the rural south: Policy issues and research needs. Retrieved from Mississippi State, Southern Rural Development Center: http://srd c.msstate.edu/publications/archive/167.pdf National Council for Agricultural Education (2007). Annual report on agricultural education Alexandria, VA: National Council for Agricultural Education. Retrieved from http://www.agedhq.org/aged.htm National FFA Organization, (201 1 ). A brief history of the National FFA Organization. Retrieved from https://www.ffa.org/About/WhoWeAre/Pages/Statistics.aspx National Research Council (1988). Understanding agriculture : New directions for education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107 110, § Stat. 1425 (2002). Osborne, E.W., & Dyer, J.E. (2000). Attitudes of Illinois agriscience students and their parents toward ag riculture and agricultural education programs. Journal of Agricultural Education 41 (3), 50 59.

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125 Owen, J.C. (1998, April). The Roles of the superintendent in creating a community climate for educational improvement. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association San Diego, CA. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0 00001 9b/80/17/1a/5c.pdf Parmley, J.D. (1982). The need for agricultural education instruction in Kansas counties where such instruction does not exist. Staff Study, Kansas State University. Pavelock, D. (2000). Perceptions and perceived knowledge le vels of Texas public school superintendents regarding the agricultural science and technology program (Doctoral dissertation). Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. Retrieved from http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses/available/etd 07312008 31295015734311/unrestricted/31295015734311.pdf Pavelock, D. Ullrich, D. R., Hanagriff, R. D. & Baer, A. (2003). Texas superintendents and the agriscience progr am: A comparison of selected demographics, perceptions and perceived knowledge levels. Proceedings of the Western Region Agricultural Education Research Conference, 22 Portland, OR. Retrieved from http://www.agedweb.org/WRAEC/2003/papers/Pavelock,Ulrich,Hanagriff,Baer.pd f Pavelock, D., Vaughn, P., & Kieth, L. (2001). Perceptions and perceived knowledge levels of Texas public school superintendents regarding the agr icultural science and technology program 471 484. Paper presented at the National Agricultural Education Research Conference 28 th annual conference. Retrieved from http://www.aged .caf.wvu.edu/Research/NAERC 2001/pavelock.pdf Plank, S. (2001). Career and technical education in the balance: an analysis of high school persistence, academic achievement, and postsecondary destinations National Research Center for Career and Technical Education Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/ 19/c9/95.pdf Portin, B.S., Shen, J., & William s, R.C. (1998). The changing principalship and its impact: voices from principals. National Association of Secondary Principals SP Bulletin, 1 8. Price, L.E. (1990). Attitudes of school administrators in the southern region of the United States toward a griculture education (Doctoral dissertation). North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. Retrieved from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 9025621). Railsback, B., & Hite, N.G. (2008). The Value of business education: pe rceptions of high school guidance counselors, principals, and boards of education. The Delta Pi Epsilon Journal L (3), 150 163.

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126 Rayfield, J., & Wilson, E. (2009). Exploring principals' perceptions of supervised agricultural experience. Journal of Agricult ural Education 50 (1), 70 79. Ricketts, J., Duncan, D., & Peake, J. (2006). Science Achievement of high school students in complete programs of agriscience education Journal of Agricultural Education, 47(2), 48 55. School Finance Redesign Project, (20 08). Funding student learning National Working Group on Funding Student Learning. Retrieved from University of Washington http://www.crpe.org/cs/crpe/download/csr_fil es/pub_sfrp_wrkgrp_oct08.pdf Smith, E., & Park, T. (2009, May). High school students' perceptions of agriculture and agricultural careers as delineated by presence of an agriculture program and rural/urban categorization. Proceedings of the American Asso ciation for Agricultural Education Research Conference Louisville, KY. Retrieved from http://www.aaaeonline.org/files/national_09/papers/39.pdf Smith Hughes National Vocational Educ ation Act of 1917, Pub. L. No. 65 347, 20 U.S.C. 11 et seq. Office of the Law Revision Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives. Structure of U.S. Education. (2008). America.gov. Retrieved from http://www.america.gov/st/educ english/2008/September/20080911223538eaifas0.320335.html Talbert, B.A., Edwin, J. (2008). Preparation of agricultural education students to work with diverse populations. Journal of agricultural education, 49(1), 51 60. Thompson, G.W. (2001). Perceptions of Oregon secondary principals regarding integrating science into agricultural science and technology. Journal of Agricultural Education 42 (1), 50 61. Voorhis, F.V., & Sheldon, S. (2004). Principals' roles in the development of us programs of school, family, and community partnerships. International Journal of Educational Research 41 55 70. Weeks, W.G ., & Terry, R. (2000). Administrator satisfaction with first year agriculture te achers. Journal of Southern Agricultural Education Research 50 (1), 152 157. agricultural education teachers. Journal of Southern Agricultural Education Research 56 (1), 40 51. Wesch, W.S. (2008, September). Agricultural education is the premier educational delivery model: the local evidence is conclusive. The Agricultural Education Magazine 12 14.

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127 What is Career and Technical Education? (2010). Association for Car eer and Technical Education. Retrieved from http://www.acteonline.org Wright, D., Stewart, B.R., & Birkenholz, R.J. (1994). Agricultural awareness of eleventh grade students in rural schools. Journal of Agricultura l

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128 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Adrienne Gentry was raised in Southern Georgia. Her family owned a small farm and she learned to love agriculture from her grandparents, Ida and Rudene Gentry. Adrienne was very active in The National FFA Organization growing up and has a love for agricultural education and the FFA. Adrienne graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture, specializing in Agricultural Education and earning a certificate in Leadership and Service Adrienne rece ived her Master of Science degree fro m the University of Florida in agricultural education and c ommunication specializing in a gricultural e ducation. Adrienne is pursuing a career in Georgia as a n a griculture t eacher and married to Ian Smith