This is a Califonia product.
About a year ago I left the classroom to join the State Agriculture Education Staff in California. One duty that I have is conducting program reviews. We have had program standards in California since about 1983. Our program standards are very similar to the National Program standards.
What I have learned as I have completed program reviews is that many programs do not have effective Advisory Committees. In California we have "Booster Club" that seem to function in a similar manner to FFA Alumni Chapters in other states. Often teacher make the mistake of using the booster club to meet the advisory committee requirement. The most important consideration when selecting members for an advisory committee is that they are people of influence. When times become challenging it is the people of influence who can get members of the school board or the administration to consider the advisory committee's recomendation. Often the agriculture education teacher is a person of influence in the community. When there are proposed cuts to your program it is best that other people of influence, hopefully those on your advisory committee, will find the votes on the board to do what is best for the program and the students.
Thank you for so eloquently expressing the value of advisory committees. I have to admit that I was just like the situation you described. I just let my alumni/booster club officers do double duty, wrote their names on paper, and double labeled meetings. If I had taken the time to really have an effective committee, I'm pretty sure some of my problems with my administration would have been headed off at the pass. I hope those teachers reading your words of wisdom will take heed and avoid the pitfalls that I found myself in because of an ineffective advisory committee.
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