Schools Should Teach Students About Entrepreneurship from an Early Age

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By Andrew Pillow

When is the last time you have looked at one of those Forbes lists?  You know those lists that tell you the richest people in any given arena? If you look up “the richest blank” typically you will be taken to Forbes list. Careful inspection of those lists brings you to an inevitable realization…the people at the top of those lists are almost always entrepreneurs.

Now obviously one would expect this to be the trend if you are looking at a list of “business owners” or “software developers,” but what some may find surprising is that no matter what list you look at, entrepreneurship wins out. 

The “richest athlete” lists are topped by people like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.  Their subsequent business deals and investments made them way more money than their playing career ever did.

If you check the “richest rapper” list you will see that P. Diddy, Jay-Z, and Dr. Dre are in a three-man race to become Hip-Hop’s first billionaire, but not because of their music. Diddy owns a Cable TV channel, Revolt. Jay-Z has a majority stake in an audio streaming service, Tidal. Dr. Dre is the co-founder of Beats audio which recently sold to Apple for $3 Billion.

The message from the world’s leading tracker of wealth is clear: Entrepreneurship is the key to wealth.

So why aren’t we teaching it in the American public-school system?

Yes, there are some schools that offer classes on businesses, apps, and things of that nature. But for the most part, if you are in a regular public-school, you are not receiving a business education outside of a basic economics class… if that.

“Well if students want a business school education they can major in business when they go to college.”

Not everyone is going to college, and going to college is not a prerequisite for starting a successful business. Many successful business owners didn’t attend or finish college including two of the successful people mentioned in this very blog.

“When will we teach it? We barely have enough hours in the day as it is.”

If business education is a priority, you will find the time. It’s not like the basic concepts of entrepreneurship are at odds or tangent to the general education we already offer. Math, history, economics, and technology all have subject matter that would benefit from an infusion of business education. Additionally, schools should not rule out electives or extracurriculars as an educational option for business-minded students.

And quite frankly this criticism is asinine given the priority the American education system places on athletics. We have an extremely robust and comprehensive system to teach kids how to shoot a basketball, and most of them will not even be able to do that on a college level… let alone a professional one. Can’t we find time to teach kids about entrepreneurship?

Schools have to start with the end goal in mind. If the end goal is to produce successful, contributing members of society, how can we overlook the pathway that creates the most wealth and the most jobs?

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Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.