Potential impact of year round education on Ohio agricultural education programs

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The Ohio State University

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The primary objective of this study was to access the potential impact of year-round education (YRE) reform upon agricultural education programs and their communities. A meta-analysis of research completed by four Ohio school districts was conducted. Two of the school districts selected for the study had existing YRE programs and two had extensively researched the option of implementing YRE programs within their respective districts. During the analysis, data was collected regarding the definition of YRE, descriptions of YRE schools, variables leading to the development of YRE programs, and the effects of YRE upon students, schools, and communities. From the data, theoretical effects were extrapolated regarding the potential impact of YRE on agricultural education programs and their communities. The findings of this study indicated that YRE has the potential to impact agricultural education programs in both positive and negative manners. With regard to students, 75 percent of the schools surveyed reported that YRE increased student achievement and learning retention. Similar improvements were projected to occur in YRE agricultural education programs, but to a smaller degree, since the existing structure of agricultural education programs includes year-round learning. The surveyed districts also cited a decrease in opportunities for students to participate in traditional summer activities (i.e., Bible schools, camps, and athletic leagues.) As a result, agricultural education students were expected to have fewer opportunities to participate in agricultural or FFA-related camps, conferences, and fairs. With regard to the effects of YRE upon schools, three out of four of the districts reported that initially, YRE led to increased costs. Although cost increases varied between districts, schools with agricultural education programs have been expected to experience cost increases as well. For agricultural education programs, increases in district expenses have led to budget cuts and/or the complete elimination of such programs. From a parent's perspective, YRE led to increased difficulty in securing childcare due to the untraditional vacation times in YRE. All of the districts surveyed indicated that securing child became problematic. Since agricultural education programs have traditionally been found in high schools and select middle schools, providing childcare has not been an issue. However, youth enrolled in agricultural education programs have been asked to be childcare providers, especially when parents have few alternatives. The study projected the issue of childcare could lead to decreased participation in FFA activities due to the increase in high school-age youth serving as childcare providers.