The National Council for Agricultural Education has initiated a national program related to international education in agriculture that has potential to involve agricultural educators at all levels. Beeman and Cheek (1990) emphasized the importance of global involvement in agricultural education programs. They pointed out several personal and programmatic benefits to be gained from participating in international experiences, such as increased interest on behalf of faculty in international education; broadening experiences, trade, and the opportunity for learning new cultures; innovative educational programs; and different governmental structures.
Symons and Cvancara (1990) asserted that the rationale for integrating international concepts into secondary agricultural education programs is rooted in the changes taking place in high schools, the global economy, and the students themselves. They acknowledged that the curricula in many schools lack an international component.
In 1989, Michigan and California were selected by the National Council for Agricultural Education to provide national leadership for internationalizing agricultural education programs in the United States. Before this selection, agricultural education faculty and staff (Moore, Stockil, and Williams) at Michigan State University had spent a year developing and field testing an instructional manual titled, "Internationalizing Agricultural Education Programs" (IAEP). The project staff believed that making the curriculum more internationally focused was not just the responsibility of professionals in liberal arts. In fact, they believed that the agricultural education profession had a responsibility to add a global perspective to the curriculum regarding world agriculture. Considering that this initiative was not a priority of personnel in the Michigan Department of Education, the program staff made teacher involvement in planning, pilot testing, an disseminating of IAEP materials a major focus of the international programming thrust. Simply stated, staff were fully aware that the success of this effort depended on the support and acceptance of the agriscience teachers.
In 1990, because 52% of the agriscience teachers had used the IAEP instructional manual for about one year, faculty at Michigan State University were interested in knowing whether the teachers who had received the IAEP instructional manual had different attitudes toward how to make their curriculum more internationally focused than teachers who had not received the IAEP curriculum. This interest created the need for an in-depth analysis of the attitudes of agriscience teachers regarding Michigan's international thrusts.
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