The Future of Business Education

Welcome to a new wiki designed to encourage discussion concerning the future of business education.

I will admit my prejudices right now - I don't believe that Technology Education is equivalent to Business Education. I know that in order to learn about business students must confront technology as it is a powerful business tool. But I also know that there is a great deal more to Business Education beyond the technological tools used.

I also know that business education exists in many places - k-12 schools, technical and community colleges, universities and industry but I prefer to think about Business Education in terms of the work done in K-12 schools. Although we seem to have competition at the K-12 level it is not as profound as the competition faced by 'business educators' in other locations.

I'll also admit that as a Canadian I am not afflicted by the Perkins act nor by NCLB.

If you find this wiki somehow and would like to contribute please do! I have opened this page to the public so anyone can post, comment or just read the entries

Tell your friends and colleagues - the more input the better

Welcome to new contributors.

There is some interest in this page and I am very happy about it. I think it may be a good idea if people introduce themselves as they come on board. We can add to this page or we can hold the discussion in the discussion area - check both.

A Comment from Virginia Hemby

Yesterday Virginia Hemby joined this wiki and made the following comment:

"I think when you look at Business Education from the K-12 perspective, it makes more sense. Most of us at the university/college level seem to have confused Business Education with Business Teacher Education and have forgotten that Business Education encompasses many facets of education for and about business. We also seem to have an "ownership" issue that sometimes makes it difficult to work outside the box. Anyone else have thoughts on this?"

I believe I agree with her. When I think about the many aspects of Business Education the only clear image I have is Business Education at the K-12 level. Although many other subject areas (disciplines?) lay claim to bits and pieces of our curriculum (eg Social Studies and Economics) business education has a recognized and distinct profile (although since the advent of the personal computer this could be disputed).

At levels beyond the K to 12 system the label of Business Educator seems to me to be almost a personal decision made by the individual teacher. At technical colleges (SIAST here in Saskatchewan) there is a rarely a Department of Business Education rather the areas are more likely called by their curricular names - Office Education, Management, Marketing, etc.

fAnd at the University level there is even more 'confusion.' Business Education departments requently have a Business Teacher Education focus and as in the technical schools being a "Business Educator" seems to be a personal choice. Despite the description of Business Schools delivering Business Education very few professors in B Schools call themselves Business Educators (not do they join our professional organizations). Although some of them do try to publish in our journals.

I'm with Virginia here - please join this group and express your opinions and thoughts here - on these topics or any others that you believe will contribute to the future of Business Education

Contribution to Discussion Topics (January 22, 2008)

I read the discussion topics concerning keyboarding and redefining business education with interest. The contributors - one an experienced and effective teacher and the other a recent graduate of our Teacher Education Program who is committed to making a difference - make the point that things are not right in Business Education in Saskatchewan (and I would extend that to many other jurisdictions) I empathize with their plights in finding solutions to the problems they face as Business Educators in a rapidly changing environment.

But I worry too. I worry that we only see Business Education in Saskatchewan in the light of the Practical and Applied Arts - a pre-vocational perspective seen as a 'second class" level of the curriculum. I worry that we only see Business Education in Saskatchewan as I.P., Accounting and Entrepreneurship - the traditional courses that have been subsumed by the Practical and Applied Arts.

I want to see us working on liberating Business Education from the Practical and Applied Arts.

I want to see us working on establishing a profile in the province as a subject area that provides important life-altering curriculum - for all students.

I want to see us expanding our notions of business education - Marketing in general, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Economics (which is being forced to die in Saskatchewan), Personal Financial Management, and more

I want to see more enthusiasm and excitement about the fabulous courses we can create and offer to our students.

Further Thoughts....

It would be nice to know who has enterred the response just above....Cyril, I believe it is you! Currently, it is Sask Learning's restrictions that prohibit us from teaching courses other than IP, Accounting and Entrepreneurship. In our schools, we simply reflect what Sask Learning has for us to offer. How can we get enthusiastic and excited about fabulous courses (marketing, sports/entertainment marketing, etc.) when we don't have the curriculum to support them? As I understand the PAA module structure, we can certainly take modules from whatever courses we want to build courses; however, locally developed options and 'new' modules are discouraged because we already have a variety of courses/modules from which to choose. I'm all for exploring alternatives, new courses, etc. but our hands are tied by the restrictions in place. How can we change this at the SaskLearning level? What can we do to effect change? That is the question....
(Barbara McKinnon, Albert E. Peacock Collegiate - Moose Jaw, SK)

More Further Thoughts.....

Tonight I logged in (I forgot to do that last night). Yes Barbara the comment was from me.

I can't wait for Sask Learning to write the curricula. It will be a long time coming. What we need to do is either lobby Sask Learning to remove Business Education from the ghetto of Practical and Applied Arts or we need to work around Sask Learning.

Locally developed courses may be difficult to establish but they aren't impossible.

The work you are doing with through interdisciplinary projects is a way to go - but I think many more projects are needed using many more business courses and many more courses from other disciplines

Further Thoughts from Dan.......
As a person who is very passionate about Economics and Marketing (ECON 100 changed my life, making me constantly consider opportunity cost with every action), I would simply ask "Where can I get started?". I don't have many other time commitments in my life, being a substitute at the moment, and if I can further Business Education's position in this city/province by doing something related to these areas, I would love to get a couple people together and work on that. Cyril, you stated that Economics is being forced to die in Saskatchewan... why is that?

Me Again....
When I was a part of the reference committee for PAA approximately 10 years ago, we were told that there would no longer be NEW locally developed course options available to schools because the module approach to PAA offers an extensive list/variety of modules....We were told that they were impossible. 'Difficult to establish' does give some hope, though! I am willing to contribute whatever I can to the cause....How do we start? I am hoping the RBEA meeting in February will address some of these concerns.

I have to think, too, that we are indeed celebrating the "age of the amateur." Breadth of knowledge seems far more important than depth of knowledge, and that is reflected in students' course selections and our offerings. The module/pieces approach to PAA curricula supports that as well. (Barbara McKinnon - Moose Jaw)

Future of Business Education
Is the future of Business Education limited to the IP, Accounting, Entrepreneurship and Career and Work Exploration? I hope not. I believe that these courses all have a purpose and are valuable, but we need to look at different ways of attracting more students to our subject area. One obstacle in attracting students to these courses are the university entrance requirements. Most programs require that a student have all the Maths/Sciences for entrance.
Even though this is the case, I have still seen some high school students who plan on going into Commerce/Business Administration take accounting as an elective. By encouragiung these students to take Business related courses for their electives we may see a jump in accounting numbers. Many Commerce/Bus Admin bound students don't realize the value of taking a high school accounting course. Those who took accounting in high school have told me they are much better prepared for their first year university accounting course.

As for new courses, the challenge will be with administrators/Sask Learning who are reluctant to offer a new locally developed course as it will mean eliminating something currently on the timetable. I have spoken to a few adminstrators who have been told by their school divisions that Sask Learning is not looking to offer any new PAA courses in the near furture. Sask Learning is actually looking at cutting PAA courses in order to offer more Senior Level English courses. More and more senior students are failing ELA 30A and ELA 30B so they want to offer more ELA courses so the students can graduate on time.

On a more positive note the Sask Party seems to be supportive Business Education. During the election campaign they mentioned the following in their Party Platform:
Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship

A Saskatchewan Party government will help young
people to start a business or a career in Saskatchewan,
by allowing young entrepreneurs and self-employed
youth under 30 to earn $10,000 per year tax free for
five years.

Promoting Career Education,
Entrepreneurial Education and Business
A Saskatchewan Party government will work with local
school boards, the business community and community
based organizations such as Junior Achievement, to
enhance business literacy, entrepreneurial and career
education in Saskatchewan schools.

Maybe with the change of government, Sask Learning will take a more open position to the development of new courses such as Personal Finance, Marketing/Sports and Entertainment Marketing.
(Ryan Smith)