This popular college major is coming to high schools and preparing kids for any career.
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Picture a classroom. In some increasingly modern schools, you might be surprised how things have changed.

Many schools still operate on the old models of textbooks and paper homework. But as we move forward into the future, some more innovative classrooms are adapting with the times.

More and more, educators are realizing that traditional curriculums don't always prepare kids for the challenges of the modern world.


Photo by StockSnap/Pixabay.

Slowly but surely, classrooms are beginning to change. And the results are interesting, to say the least: Coding is becoming as important as calculus. Environmental justice, sustainability, and intersectional politics have started to be incorporated into history class. Many educators are now looking to update their teaching methods to compensate for how society is changing.

In other words: Innovation in education is the future. And schools are finding lots of ways to work it in.

Some schools have begun innovating their approach by assigning projects that tackle lessons from multiple subjects. Instead of doing math problems and writing biology reports, a teacher might ask kids to plan, design, and execute a sustainable vegetable garden, like at Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx. As students measure out plots of land and pick out the optimal crops for their garden, they learn not just about algebra and biology, but also about nutrition, sustainability, and food justice — all pressing issues in the real world today.

Photo by K-State Research and Extension/Flickr.

But some educators still struggle with the reality that whatever hard skills they imbue, no matter how cutting-edge they seem at the time, they might be outdated by the time graduation rolls around. How do educators prepare kids to do well in a future that they can’t predict?

For many schools, the answer has been an unusual one: teach entrepreneurship.

You may think of entrepreneurship as the training that students need to open their own businesses, which isn't necessarily a goal all kids have. But entrepreneurship includes tons of individual lessons and life skills that will help kids adapt to changing environments in any industry.

One such curriculum, launched by the National Federation of Independent Business' Young Entrepreneur Foundation, is broken into three parts: foundations of business theory, developing business ideas, and the logistics of running a business. However, graduates of similar courses say it taught them much more than that.

Photo by Negative Space/Pexels.

"[It] taught me how to create something from nothing," says Anthony Halmon, a graduate of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship program. "I learned that I can create my own opportunities and I can be an innovator."

And when kids use their skills to start their own businesses, everyone benefits.

Though students don't have to go on to become startup founders, many want to do just that. A 2011 Gallup survey indicated that 45% of pre-college students polled said they planned to start their own business — a decision that has positive effects on the individual and on society as a whole.

This outside-the-box thinking taught in entrepreneurship classes has benefits, especially for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, where training in overcoming obstacles can benefit them as they’re often granted fewer opportunities than people from more affluent backgrounds.

It also shows promise when it comes to increasing social justice and stimulating lower-income economies, as high school graduates with entrepreneurship skills are more likely to find and take advantage of local business opportunities.

For those who become entrepreneurs, the flexibility that comes with creating one’s own business could have great implications for women and parents. Not only does an entrepreneurship class stand to benefit kids in the present, it could also equip them for brighter futures.

At schools already implementing entrepreneurship programs, the reviews are glowing.

Some schools might be hesitant to try out a pilot program in entrepreneurship, but the proof is in the positive results that early adopters are already beginning to see.

Kempsville High School in Virginia tried out an entrepreneurship academy, and students, parents, and teachers all agreed that it had positive outcomes for everyone involved, whether or not the kids intended to start a business.

“No matter what you do in life, you have to sell yourself,” academy leader Meghan Timlin told local newspaper The Virginia Pilot. “We’re going to give you that set of skills.”

It might be time for more schools to consider adding entrepreneurship to the course list.

It's become evident that there's really no way to predict what the world will look like even a few years down the line. If there's a subject that can teach kids how to create opportunity out of uncertainty, that's something worth exploring.

When we educate a class of innovators, we invigorate society with a whole generation of fresh ideas, plans, and solutions to problems. And that's something we can all look forward to.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.