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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 13, 1908. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a manuscript entitled “On the Training of Persons to Teach Agriculture in the Public Schools," and to recommend its publication as the first number of the bulletin of the Bureau of Education for the year 1908.
By the so-called Nelson amendment to the agricultural appropriation bill for the year 1908 the sum of $5,000 was added to the appropriation to each of the States for the better endowment and support of the agricultural and mechanical colleges which had been previously endowed and aided under the two Morrill acts, of July 2, 1862, and August 30, 1890; and it was provided that this addition should be increased by the sum of $5,000 annually till it should reach the annual amount of $25,000. When this maximum is reached, at the end of a five-year period, each State will receive annually, including the $25,000 previously granted under the second Morrill Act, a total of $50,000 for agricultural and mechanical college purposes.
With these liberal endowments and the still larger amounts appropriated by the State governments the “land-grant colleges” have been able to give a great impetus to agricultural education. They have helped to form the rising demand for a wide extension of such education in high schools, normal schools, and schools of elementary grade.
As was pointed out in the report of the Commissioner of Education for the year 1906, there is grave danger that the demand for the teaching of agricultural subjects shall far outrun the supply of properly qualified teachers. Such a mischance might result in a serious setback to a great educational movement—one of the most promising educational movements, in fact, of the present generation. It is accordingly significant that the Nelson amendment contained the following provision: “ That said colleges may use a portion of this money for providing courses for the special preparation of instructors for teaching the elements of agriculture and the mechanic arts."
The Bureau of Education bears some responsibility in this matter, since the Department of the Interior is charged with the distribution of the annual appropriations under both the second Morrill Act and the Nelson amendment, and this Bureau is the agency through which that function is discharged. With a view to rendering some assistance in the shaping of plans for such training of teachers as may be undertaken by the colleges with the aid of these new funds, I have asked Prof. Liberty Hyde Bailey, director of the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell University, to prepare the bulletin which is presented herewith. Professor Bailey is among the foremost of those who are making the new movements in agricultural education, and his suggestions will have value and interest, not only for the authorities controlling the agricultural and mechanical colleges, but also for all who are interested in these new educational undertakings. Very respectfully,