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BILL AS PASSED BY HOUSE 2007-2008

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H.711

AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL, FORESTRY, AND HORTICULTURAL EDUCATION

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  INTENT

The intent of this act is to enhance the ability of regional technical centers and secondary schools in Vermont to teach and prepare students for careers in agriculture, forestry, and horticulture and to determine what steps are necessary to prepare the next generation for involvement in these sectors of Vermont’s economy.

Sec. 2.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Education and training are essential to meeting the goals of No. 38 of the Acts of 2007, pertaining to the viability of Vermont agriculture.

(2)  There is currently an absence of statewide oversight and coordination of agriculture, forestry, and horticulture (AF&H) education and training.

(3)  There is a teacher crisis in secondary and postsecondary AF&H education because the pool of applicants is not adequate to replace retiring faculty, some of whom have more than 40 years of experience.

(4)  Careers in the AF&H fields:

(A)  provide business opportunities while taking advantage of Vermont’s natural assets;

(B)  benefit local economies due to the multiplier effect of local investment; and

(C)  provide opportunities for young Vermonters to remain in the state.

(5)  In order for Vermont to capitalize on opportunities in the AF&H fields, comprehensive and effective postsecondary education and training are needed.

(6)  It is critical to understand the current system, methods, and curriculum of educating students in the AF&H fields before taking additional steps toward that end.

Sec. 3.  AGRICULTURAL, FORESTRY, AND HORTICULTURAL

            EDUCATION

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets and the department of education shall jointly perform a needs assessment on AF&H education in secondary schools, regional technical centers, and the community high school of Vermont and provide technical assistance for existing programs.

(b)  A report of the needs assessment required in subsection (a) of this section shall be delivered to the house and senate committees on agriculture and on education, the house committee on institutions and corrections, and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs by January 15, 2009.  The report of the needs assessment shall include discussion and recommendations relating to the following:

(1)  The ability of secondary schools, regional technical centers, and the community high school of Vermont to prepare students for AF&H careers.

(2)  The effectiveness of the organizational structures of secondary schools, regional technical centers, and the community high school of Vermont in providing AF&H education.

(3)  The reasons why some secondary schools, regional technical centers, and the community high school of Vermont do not provide AF&H education.

(4)  The opportunities for and barriers to AF&H career paths.

(5)  The need for a statewide specialist to provide AF&H technical and curriculum support.

(6)  An assessment of postsecondary teacher degree and certification programs or opportunities at Vermont institutions of higher learning.

(7)  The role organizations such as FFA, the Vermont youth conservation corps, FEED (food education every day), Foodworks, NOFA (northeast organic farming association), and 4-H perform in support of AF&H education.

(8)  The opportunities to enhance AF&H education through collaboration of secondary and postsecondary educational institutions.

(c)  The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the commissioner of education shall propose funding needed to support the intent of this act in their respective budgets for FY 2010.

(d)  Resources utilized in preparing the report required in subsection (b) of this section shall include:

(1)  current and retired instructors;

(2)  regional technical center directors and administrators of the community high school of Vermont;

(3)  secondary schools and regional technical centers with existing AF&H education programs;

(4)  postsecondary school administrators;

(5)  the workforce training council and the department of labor;

(6)  other northeastern states where similar efforts are being made and models have been created.

(e)  The report required in subsection (b) of this section shall also include a summary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets’ and the department of education’s efforts to implement the provisions of Sec. 4 of No. 201 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006).

Sec. 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us