The Future Educators Association (FEA) went statewide in Kentucky as result of House Joint Resolution 188 in 2002. The FEA has a long history in Kentucky in many school districts. Since the mid-1980s, Jefferson County has used this creative solution to teacher preparation. While working in South Carolina in the 1980s, I remember that the state used the Jefferson County model to create the Teacher Cadet program, which became a national model for getting students interested in becoming educators while in high school.
As I spoke to the group this week (there were over 1,000 students present), I was very impressed with their enthusiasm and team spirit. Many of the groups had special t-shirts and promotional materials for their schools. The students engaged in competitions, and the universities were present to recruit this outstanding group of young people.
Many research studies have shown that a school system will only be as successful as the quality of teachers in the classroom. The great school systems in the world recruit the brightest and the best to become teachers. If the group I saw this week at the FEA conference is any indication, we will have a terrific group of teachers in Kentucky in the coming years.
Through its support of FEA, Kentucky now holds the distinction of having the most chartered FEA chapters in the nation. This “Grow Your Own” program is very important to our future as a commonwealth. Thanks to all the sponsors, teachers, administrators, parents and students who support these terrific programs at middle and high schools in Kentucky.