One of the big focus areas in the education world is Career Technical Education. This encompasses a variety of classes that focus on career skills, hands on learning, work experience, and preparing students to work right away upon graduation. This provides students the opportunity to find skills that can allow for them to be employable and adaptable in the job market. Most would agree that their local schools could use more of these types of programs. I would strongly agree with that too. However, there is one thing lacking in our schools that would make this process even better. Our students, not just those involved in CTE programs, should be required to learn finance, entrepreneurship, and marketing before leaving our schools.
It is time that we start teaching our students business skills in school. We all know that there is a strong need for personal finance education in schools, but we also need to teach them how to start and run their own business. There is a different language to finance, business, and economics that our students do not know. We are teaching them to write in schools but are we teaching them to write in a variety of ways that will lead them directly to success in the workforce?
The United States is at a turning point in our economic future. We will need more business to be established and successfully run than ever before. That is why our students must learn these skills in our classrooms. They should be required to:
1) Create a resume, a professional website which includes a professional portfolio, and a social media profile that connects them with others in their desired field.
2) Write a business plan that will be edited by peers, the teacher, and a local community member.
3) Build a prototype or design a sample for their classmates and community to see.
4) Balance a budget to determine their costs versus their projected revenue.
5) Attempt to start their business before graduating.
We you look at the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, it lines up with what we want from our students. An entrepreneur is self motivated and driven to find success no matter what challenges come their way. An entrepreneur is willing to take risks but is focused on taking calculated risks that will pay off. An entrepreneur is articulate, social, involved in the community, and connect to several other professionals. An entrepreneur never makes the same mistake twice. An entrepreneur is well rounded and makes a difference in the economic success of the community. These are all characteristics that I would like to see in my students.
To some people this list of requirements may seem crazy. To me, I think these are essential skills for the success of our students. We can use state standards and core curriculum to teach these skills. However, schools have never fully taken these concepts and implemented them school wide. This is a step we all must take. We cannot simply rely on the limited amount of business and economics to teach our students these skills. We can set them up for success by teaching them to be entrepreneurs now.
Leading is Teaching