“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question we as educators often ask our students. We teach them from a young age how when they grow up, they can be anything; a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher—even the president. Yet recent studies have shown only 52.9% of high school graduates go on to receive a college degree. (Chuck, 2015). How will these kids grow up to be doctors and lawyers and teachers when they aren’t graduating college?
Of the students who enter the workforce without a degree, only 13% of them are prepared for the road that lies ahead of them, a tell-tale sign, our education system is failing our students and future leaders. A poll from employers across the United States show students lack basic life skills like: communication, the ability to deal with failure, financial literacy, an understanding about how the world works, the ability to collaborate, creativity, how to problem solve and critically think, as well as, innovation and how to take initiative. (Strauss, 2016). Not only are these numbers alarming, it reveals the need to change the approach we take towards educating our upcoming generations.
Over the coming weeks, through our six-part series, “How the Implementation of Entrepreneurship can Revive an Age-Old System”, we’ll explore how entrepreneurship can benefit both typical and atypical learners. Typical learners are defined as students who do not fall under federal 504 and IEP, while atypical learners consist of students like those with: Dyslexia, ADHD, Visual Processing Disorder, Dysgraphia and more.
6th Century Chinese philosopher, Confucius, was quoted saying, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” (Confucius, n.d.). Now, more than 15 centuries later, research still confirms the best and most meaningful learning experiences comes from doing. While schools have shifted to incorporating project-based learning styles, largely, the vast majority of students still learn from lecture, books, and rigorous assessing. This approach notoriously deprives students from hands on, meaningful learning, and unfortunately, places students with learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD in a position where they are twice as likely as typical learners to not succeed.
When we look at the staggering success rate of high school graduates as a whole, both typical and atypical learners are missing vital aspects like: life skills and preparation, realistic career options and employability, college readiness, social and emotional fortitude, and the innovation to create the jobs needed to employee generations to come. If our students aren’t leaving school prepared for the workforce or to pursue a higher education, we as educators must beg to differ that our approaches are working.
Considering the historical impact of a hands-on learning experience, coupled with the staggering disproportionate success rate of atypical learners in fields like entrepreneurship, the key to solving our current educational crisis isn’t hard—it’s experiential. By incorporating an entrepreneurial approach, we’re empowering learners of all types with a meaningful, relatable education that prepares them for life after the classroom.
Next week, we’ll explore how entrepreneurship can impact students life skills and post academia preparation. If you haven’t had the chance to check out our info-graph with some alarming statistics, we’ve attached it below. These numbers are 100% of the reason our organization is passionate about revitalizing our education system through the incorporation of entrepreneurship.
Amber Wakem, 2018; photo courtesy of Sidney Hollingsworth Photography
About the Author:
Amber Wakem holds a Bachelors of Art in Elementary Education. After teaching early childhood for nearly a decade in both a public and private setting, Wakem grew frustrated by the lack of support her young dyslexic daughter, Harper, received. Despite accommodations, Harper’s classroom struggles affected her social and emotional well being—her once bright child disappeared. However, it was through Harper’s self-governed interest in entrepreneurship, Wakem saw her daughter come to life, her brilliant brain shining through. Instantly, she realized how powerful this type of education was and left her job to start Start-Up Kids Club. Wakem’s passion for entrepreneurship have extended past the impact it’s had on her own daughter by watching how it’s affected the community around her. Today she continues to shake up the way we look at education by advocating for inclusive practices beyond standard accommodations and pushing for a broader incorporation of 21st Century Skills through an entrepreneurial education.
Start-Up Kids Club was forged in the belief that by teaching ALL kids entrepreneurial skills we have the power to shape the world by broadening perspectives and enhancing life skills through community, connection, and experience. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, SKC relies heavily on the support from the community to fulfill its mission. Show your support today.