When did efforts to coordinate agricultural education begin?
Agricultural education has a long and rich history in Illinois, although organized efforts to foster agricultural education for all students did not begin until the 1980s. In 1984, a grassroots movement from the Illinois agriculture industry recognized that agriculture is central to the welfare and economic stability of the state, and requires a continued source of trained and qualified individuals for employment in agriculture. That movement resulted in creation of the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE).
In 1986, the Illinois General Assembly legislated that a comprehensive program for agricultural education be created and maintained by the public school system for all school districts. The Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE) was formed. In 1987, the first agricultural education line item within the Illinois State Board of Education budget was approved at $48,500. When the line item was increased to $1,000,000 in 1989, the Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education Project (FCAE) was developed by the Illinois State Board of Education to assist in the coordination of improvement and expansion efforts in agricultural education. The current funding level for the agricultural education line item is $1,800,000.
How are agricultural education efforts in Illinois coordinated today?
A number of diverse organizations play integral roles. State of Illinois line item funding comes through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and is coordinated by the three groups that make up the "CAE Family" outlined below.
Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE)
ILCAE is a voluntary grassroots agricultural industry group focused on expansion and improvement of agricultural education programs at all levels. As an advocacy group, ILCAE focuses on legislation, funding and promotion. ILCAE is responsible for the legislation that established ICAE and the line item in the ISBE budget.
Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE)
ICAE is a 13-member committee established by legislation and appointed by the Governor to advise the Governor and ISBE about agricultural education. ICAE is mandated to develop curriculum and strategies to establish a continuing source of trained and qualified professionals in agriculture. ICAE members serve three-year terms. Six must be appointed from the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education.
Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE)
FCAE is a state project administered through ISBE in cooperation with the Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE). FCAE implements identified goals for improving education in and about agriculture in Illinois, which are directly supported with funds from the line item.