Business class should be restarted to promote creativity and innovation

May 25, 2017 — by Victor Liu and Vivien Zhang

Despite student interest in pursuing entrepeneurship, the school lacks an emphasis on business. 

Although the school’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) club is listed on the official club roster, its members have not held a single meeting this year. The club’s activities stopped suddenly after a successful season last year, when five members qualified to nationals and three members won awards.

What happened? DECA did not fall into obscurity due to officer negligence, but rather because the national DECA organization implemented a new rule requiring all participating members to be enrolled in at least one business CTE (Career and Technical Education) class. Because Saratoga High does not offer any business-related CTE courses,  DECA members here have been unable to attend competitions this year. Establishing a new business class on school, however, wouldn’t only restore DECA, but would help all Saratoga High students by introducing them to a new and important field.

While remaining entrepreneurship-oriented clubs on campus such as FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) and MIT Launch have fewer members than similar clubs in other local schools, there is still an undeniable interest in business-related studies on campus. Many members of these clubs find themselves competing at regional, state and even national level competitions to demonstrate their knowledge in technology, business prowess and social skills.

Outside of club-based competitions, SHS students have shown interest and talent in entrepreneurship by creating start-up companies of their own. In the past, burgeoning student-entrepreneurs have ventured into various fields of business, such as music management, food catering, technology recycling and even curb painting. An addition of business class would help students explore infinite possibilities and opportunities, allowing them to experience the thrill of starting their own business.

Entrepreneurship embraces student talents and skills found outside of the conventional classroom. While the school curriculum ensures that students are able to solve problems mathematically, it fails to teach them how to solve problems through creativity and innovation. Although the school highly values student proficiency in the traditional sense of academics, it hardly gives enough opportunities to non “book smart” students who prefer using a business mindset to think outside the box.

Unfortunately, the school places no emphasis on these critical entrepreneurial skills and offers little guidance for those who want to acquire them. For many students who want to go down a business-oriented path later in their lives, this can be detrimental.

Last year, many seniors applied for a business-related major. Although many of them already had previous experiences with business in summer programs or other extracurricular activities, having a business class at school would not only have solidified their entrepreneurship skills, but also demonstrated their interest in business to colleges.

A business class similar to Introduction to Business, a class offered a few years ago, should be reintroduced as an elective course to not only bolster student interest in business-related studies, but to also promote the educational values of creativity and innovation.  At the very least, the school should allow students to sign up for the class and determine the re-addition of it based on enrollment. Not only provide DECA with an adviser who has business expertise but also allow its members to successfully participate in their events.

Furthermore, in order to avoid a lack of student interest in the class, the business class could be split into a multiple year program — like current students in art, orchestra, or newspaper, students in this business class would  become eligible for honors credit in their third or fourth years of the course. While this may be difficult due to other multiple year programs such as engineering and MAP, this idea should be considered because it helps students continue to develop.

The little emphasis placed on business inhibits students’ ability to further develop this popular interest, and could easily be changed by the addition of a new class solely focused on business. A specialized class would not only revive DECA, but it would benefit a larger student population, exposing more students to the numerous merits of business.

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