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Are American schools discouraging entrepreneurship?

Is the push towards standardized testing causing American schools to neglect the skills - risk-taking, originality, curiousity - that fuel the entrepreneurial spirit?

Cameron Herold, an entrepreneur since childhood and the creator of 1-800-GotJunk?, believes many kids are bored in class and failing in school because those natural abilities are being discouraged, instead of encouraged.

At the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, students are uncertain whether entrepreneurship is something that can be taught. Skills such as how to raise money or craft a business plan? Sure. But the drive to take a risk and perhaps lose it all? Maybe not.

Andre Marquis, executive director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the school, is convinced entrepeneurship can be learned. He cites himself, the son of academics with no business acumen, as an example.

But Marquis agrees with Herold that American schools, particularly the testing emphasis of the federal No Child Left Behind act, are not doing budding entrepeneurs any favors by rewarding those who master "fill-in-the-bubble" exams.

Click arrow on the right to see full U.S. map showing homes and brief bios of recent teen entrepreneurs:


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