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 Question for the Profession: Are the Standards in Leadership Development Too Much?


We’ve all heard it, even repeated it: “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” For all practical purposes, a very wise piece of advice. We all know what happens when you do bite off more than you can chew…you choke!

Are the National Quality Program Standards for student leadership development more than we can chew? Just the first three are a mouthful—all agriculture students are members of FFA; all students have a leadership plan; and, all students participate in FFA activities. Each one is a huge bite to chew, much less try to swallow.

Consider what your program would look like if you were able to ensure that every student who enters your department is engaged in student leadership and FFA activities.

  • Would your FFA circle become so large it would eat classroom instruction and SAE?
  • Would you work harder than you already are?
  • Do you even want all your students to be involved in leadership development and FFA?
  • Would your partners help you?
  • Would your traditional “ag kids” rise to the occasion?
  • Would you choke if you tried to teach leadership to all students, not just a few elite?


How we answer these questions really defines who we are as agricultural educators.

This month’s theme for Making a Difference is student leadership, and the question I pose to you is, “Are the National Quality Program Standards for leadership development too much?” Post your thoughts on the NAAE Communities of Practice.