What Students should learn about Business in K-12 Schools?
Not all graduates of K-12 move on to college and many of those that do work during summers or even during school days to finance their college education. Unfortunately, though, not all states require K-12 students to take up a course either focusing entirely on business or a consisting of a business component, like Economics. Some business classes are set up as electives and not many students take them even when more people now recognize an increasing need for business literacy in these hard times. So what should students learn about business in K-12 schools?
More than memorizing the definitions of business terms, K-12 students need to know how businesses work in real life and how to function in the economic environment. After all, nobody cares if you know the exact definition of the word "loan" if you don't even know how to file for one. What should students learn about business in K-12 schools? These are not technical but practical things they can use in real life, knowledge that they can use to become responsible consumers, employees or even business owners in the future.
How do banks work? K-12 students need to know how banks protect their money if they get their own bank accounts, how they can build credit-worthy reputations, and how they can apply for loans. This encourages students to save up for their future and figure out how to apply for student loans they will need for their college funds.
The recession is blamed on the housing and credit crises so it's important for students to know how to handle their credit well. They need to know how credit works and the concepts of credit ratings. They also need to know how to calculate interest on loans and credit card payments. They also need to know how mortgages work. This way they also learn a bit of how to budget their money for the future.
Budgeting can be a headache for people of all ages. Even adults have a difficult time when they budget their money, like shopaholics whose credit card accounts get frozen from over-buying. So this early, students must learn about how to manage their expenses. Budgeting skills can put them through the worst of economic times.
The answer to "What should students learn about business in K-12 schools?" must also include formulating business ideas and skill-building in areas of teamwork, leadership and building interpersonal relationships. You can teach them these by introducing them to concepts of cash flow, business costs, supply and demand, and basic accounting. They also need to know how competition in the market works and learn the factors that are necessary to build and retain the presence of a company-- Product, Place, Price, Promotion and People. Afterward, students should get involved in group activities where students set up plans for small businesses. Maybe they can even realize their plans after graduation.
Of course, not all students are meant for entrepreneurship but they can always invest in the stock market. Thus, they should know the factors that affect the rising and plunging of stock prices. They should learn how to evaluate whether they should take the risk of investing in a company's stock or not.
What students should learn about business in K-12 schools must also involve their responsibility as US citizens. What taxes should they pay? Why do they need to pay taxes? Where do taxes go? How do taxes affect government spending? When they get the answers to these questions, not only will they learn their responsibility and value to the American government, they will also get a view of how the US budget circulates.
Finally, students need to know how to use technology in managing information. Almost all aspects of life already involve technology. In these fast-paced times, technology is a useful tool in delivering the fastest and most efficient business services to people, so it's advantageous for a student to know how to use it well for future employment, among other things. If a student knows how to use Excel in accounting, it will be easier for him to get things done when doing inventory work for either his employer or his own company.
Subject Matter Websites for Business and Economics
- Better Business Bureau
- Dumb With Money- A great site by our friend Jack. Covers some funny items.
- MainXed: Stock market education in the classroom
- Natural Macroeconomic Model
- The Stock Market Game
- World Economic Outlook