What big ideas can help America solve its most pressing problems? In an ongoing project, Yahoo News is soliciting creative, outside-the-box and possibly controversial (but still credible) solutions. Here's one about government and culture.
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COMMENTARY | Education reform is desperately needed in America. Teachers are underpaid, schools are closing due to a lack of funding, and students are dropping out at an alarming rate.
Teaching students how to pursue their passions in life through entrepreneurship is the single greatest reform that can make an immediate impact on education and the American economy.
Here are some troubling statistics:
- Every day, our country has 7,000 new high school dropouts, according to Choices.org.
- Twenty-five percent of all Americans who start high school never graduate, according to the Census Bureau.
- Unemployment is three and a half times higher for Americans who don't have a high school degree vs. college grads.
Entrepreneurship education would focus on building on the interests of students by teaching them how to turn what they love and care about into a sustainable business. By the time a student is in high school, there is a good chance they have figured out what they like and what they have no interest in.
If they are able to work on something they are specifically interested in, and receive proper guidance, there is a far greater chance that they will be successful and stay in school. There will be less reliance on current jobs because students will be creating their own and possibly become employers themselves.
We should create elective or mandatory classes that allow students to learn about entrepreneurship and work on their own business. They should be able to work on this from the time they enter high school until graduation. Part of the revenue, if any, will go back to the school. If high school athletes can help bring in money for schools, there is no reason that entrepreneurs cannot. Schools will create relationships with entrepreneurs and local businesses to help with the program.
It's time to teach students skills and practices that they can use whether they finish high school and college, or drop out of high school after a year or two.
The solution for education is entrepreneurship. Small businesses are the driving force of America's economy. If we teach more students to create their own and to experience venture creation, we will be a better nation for it.