Building Dreams in Entrepreneurship Education

By Suzan Mullane.

Obama’s 2011 American Jobs Act Speech emphasized the importance of small businesses; he recognized that entrepreneurship creates jobs. Tellingly, as more baby boomers retire, a well-trained workforce that offers innovative solutions to health care and green energy are essential in a competitive global economy. But where do we start? Some educators say now, while our students are young and districts are aligning existing state standards to Common Core. Perhaps there has never been a more critical time to educate our children, even our young children, in innovative business skills. In fact, some school communities are not waiting until high school; they’re fostering business creativity in relevant mathematics and literacy classes early-creating dreams that can ultimately become a reality.

What about rigorous content curriculum? Adapting Common Core Curriculum is a productive start. But more rigor may not be enough for some students. We want students to treasure learning. Essentially, our more disenfranchised students’”including our gifted and talented students who underachieve’”require an approach that goes beyond the the traditional education model established in the early 20th century.

Entrepreneurship education is ‘learning by doing,’ offering students essential opportunities to explore skills in: creativity, critical thinking, and technology, given collaborative relevant instruction. Simulations in the classroom can teach students about calculated risk management and the effects of debt overload, economic survival skills that foster an understanding of economic exploitation as the Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) shows.

Here’s another example: North Carolina’s Project REAL expanded their quest to teach entrepreneurship skills to elementary and middle school students; they’ve been in the forefront of entrepreneurship education for decades.

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