Here are our TAG 'conference conversations' from recent professional meetings. We think you'll find them interesting and informative; and, of course, please feel free to contact any of the TAG members with your comments and suggestions.

Washington State Business Education Association (WSBEA)

Wenatchee, WA - October 8, 2004 (Dennis LaBonty)

  • This was a keynote luncheon presentation by Dennis LaBonty to about 170 Washington State BEA members and included a background piece on Peter L. Agnew with an overview of The Agnew Group including membership, objectives, and previous presentations at professional conferences. Dennis also reviewed many of the papers found on our TAG Web site and the research reports from TAG members. Dennis encouraged the WSBEA members to join us at the "Teachers' Café" at the 2005 NBEA conference in Anaheim as well as to join our TAG presentation at the next WBITE meeting, which is scheduled for February 2005 in Reno, NV.

Eastern Business Education Association (EBEA) -

Braintree, MA - October 14, 2004

  • The TAG session at EBEA was an "Open Forum" concerning the future of Business Education and the work of our group; minutes taken by Peter Meggison.

The following points were raised and discussed at the Open Forum:

  • The negative impact of increasing core requirements for graduation
  • State mandates also negatively impact Business Education; statewide testing in English, Math, Social Studies, etc., also hurt Business Education enrollments
  • Cuts in Business Education staff reflect the similar cuts in Business Education electives
  • Recognized need for Business Education to be(come) more politically savvy and active. Who 'does' lobbying for Business Education-NBEA, ACTE, DPE-or us as individuals
  • Public education is ignoring the non-college-bound individual
  • To what degree does/will on-line learning tools impact-both positively and negatively-junior, middle, and high schools, especially with regard to quality Business Education courses
  • Linking to the foregoing, how to address the shortage of teachers who can instruct in the on-line environment
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of articulation agreements such as 2+2+2 as with 'tech prep' and related structures

Delta Pi Epsilon (DPE)

Arlington, VA - November 20, 2004

Our TAG presentation at the annual DPE conference began at 7:30 a.m., and we were delighted with a capacity crowd of nearly 40 Business Education professionals. Here are the highlights of this one-hour session; minutes taken by Michael Bronner.

  • Burt Kaliski presented an overview of TAG and our mission-to look at the future of our field-with other TAG members adding related details. Bronner outlined the structure of the remainder of the session and encouraged all to participate in a lively open discussion.
  • Judy Lambrecht then presented the results of a pilot Delphi study, which focused on TAG issues and was responded to by TAG members. This instrument was developed by Lambrecht and Cyril Kesten, a visiting professor from the University of Regina in CN. Because of the length of the instrument, the document was divided into three segments, one of each placed in the registration packet of the DPE attendees, all of whom were encouraged to complete and return the instrument before departing the conference. A total of 103 completed copies were returned for tabulation and analysis. A lively discussion ensued.
  • The remainder of the session resulted in the following (edited) bullet points, which were derived from the attendees' wide-ranging comments:
  • TAG should 'not go out of business' as there obviously now exists-and will continue to be-a need for a top-level 'think tank' group to continue to review the status of our field.
  • Tread lightly on 'alternative certification' support as it will remove the licensing impact and professionalization for business teacher certification. But be sensitive to those career changers who move from other related fields into business teaching activities. There is a balance to be struck here.
  • Consider a stronger use of our on-line technologies to recruit new business teachers. This method might also be helpful to address delivery of instruction issues for new faculty as well (secondary level focus emphasized).
  • Suggest that we consider a modification of our traditional title at the school level-Business Education-to simplify it to just the single term, 'Business.' The would more accurately reflect what we teach-business. So 'business education teachers' would more accurately be known as business teachers.
  • Strengthen our legislative advocacy activities. We do not tend to this issue and it has hurt our presence over the years in the policy-making arena. ACTE is the only national organization, it seems, to be addressing advocacy. Some state associations, notably California, have recently hired a legislative advocate to bridge this gap.
  • A need exists for business educators to 'raise the bar' when dealing with important issues such as academic standards, diversity of courses, and the current NCLB legislation. We tend to focus at a much lower level-classroom instruction, technology, etc., which hinders our visibility.
  • Business education leaders should be more forceful in addressing opportunities beyond the secondary level-community colleges, for-profit institutions, and the rapidly-expanding corporate universities. Otherwise we limit ourselves to a shrinking market.
  • TAG should be encouraged to forward our agenda to a wider audience of decision-makers such as principals, superintendents, and post-secondary vocational institutions. NASSP and the School Boards Association were two specific groups mentioned. An opening dialog might be profitable-at least informational, at the very least.

WBITE - TAG Summary from Reno, NV

February 20, 2005

With a full house at the TAG session at the 2005 WBITE conference in Reno, NV, Western TAGgers, Pauline Newton (Presentation HS, San Jose, CA) and Dennis LaBonty (Utah State University, Logan, UT), along with Michael Bronner (NYU) provided an update of TAG activities and future goals. With TAG members Judy Lambrecht (DPE President, University of MN, St. Paul) and Sharon Lund O'Neil (University of Houston, Houston, TX) in the audience, participants were treated to a complete discussion of TAG activities.

Dennis LaBonty led off the overhead slide presentation with the introduction and background of The Agnew Group and its membership, followed by Michael Bronner's discussion of the current status and future objectives of the group. Judy Lambrecht then detailed the ongoing major Delphi survey, copies of which were made available for audience completion, and offered an early projection of major findings to this point. In addition to the survey instrument presented at this point, Judy Lambrecht, as national DPE President, also discussed and provided copies at the Sunday morning DPE breakfast, also with a strong showing of attendees.

Pauline Newton, then presented an overview of marketing strategies for Business Education, complete with handouts and suggestions for implementation. She also informed the audience of the strong showing that the California group (CBEA) had experienced with the hiring of a Business Education legislative advocate to press our agenda to the elected officials in Sacramento (CA).

An enthusiastic discussion evolved from this session; TAG enjoys high visibility in the West!

The Agnew Group at NBEA 2005 Teachers' Café Comments and Notes

The following six Table Reports are noteworthy due to the depth and details provided by the participants to the questions posed. TAG would appreciate your comments and input to any-or all-of these six reports.

On the Future of Business Education. Direction: Education in Business

Bridget N. O'Connor
With input from the NBEA TAG Roundtable Group: Carol Diamond, Mindy Mass, and Marilyn Price

Business Education has traditionally been education about and for business. Learning, we know, takes place in and outside the classroom and throughout one's life. An individual's formal learning does not end with the completion of a degree; learning continues throughout one's work life and through retirement. To this end, business teacher education programs could use their curricula to provide a skill set needed for not only education about and for business, but also education in business and the community, to prepare educators for careers in leading workplace and postsecondary continuing education programs.

Education in business is suggested as a direction business educators at all levels can use to refocus their learning programs. In the face of dwindling enrollments and reduction of faculty, traditional business teacher education programs continue to see their goal as preparing students for careers as secondary level teachers and the business content area as the skills needed for administrative support positions in business. This vision is not consistent with the radically changed work environment and the roles/responsibilities all workers experience.

For those business educators who see their role as technology trainers, their market can be expanded across the board and, furthermore, more closely integrated with other academic departments and expanded to learners of all ages. With the evolution of technology, learners are eager to learn skills that will help them in their lives and work. This shifts (or at least adds to) the potential market for students from just the traditional administrative support roles to everyone who works or will be working in business, often called end users. This acknowledgement certainly changes the way in which business educators can view our roles and plan our curricula.

Another area in which business educators may expand their outreach is addressing the continuing learning needs of working adults. While similarities exist, the teaching/learning environment in schools and universities differs markedly from that in corporate learning environments (referred to here as corporate universities). First, schools and universities tend to lean toward those skills needed to be scholars, competent workers, and successful citizens; corporate universities have a goal of creating innovators, competent employees, and successful corporate citizens. Second, the motivation for learning differs in the two environments (voluntary v. mandated; certification driven v. competency-driven.) Third, corporate university learners are adults, whose experiences and knowledge bases are typically much more diverse than those in the school/university classroom. Fourth, the rules of engagement, the division of labor, and the political environment are also quite different.

Business teacher education programs could prepare students to become educators in both academic and corporate environments; a knowledge of how learning is delivered in organizations helps the educator, too, prepare students for employer-sponsored learning opportunities. Outside of the very different environmental factors, the ultimate goal is learning and citizenship. Here are a number of specific recommendations for the business education community to take the leadership in bringing the two arenas together:

  • Business educators who are technology trainers could team teach with faculty in English, history, math, and social studies to ensure that the technology skills they teach are relevant to learners -- learned at the point and in the context in which they need to use the skills.
  • Business educators could place emphasis on the development of workplace learning programs-those that bring the business world into the classroom via problem -- based learning, as well as those that take students into the business world, such as career exploration programs and internships.
  • Business instructors may be challenged in making a transition from the teacher-led classroom teaching to problem-based learning and other student-centric learning strategies. Opportunities at NBEA/NABTE conferences could be provided to assist these educators in learning to use these methods.
  • Business instructors may be challenged in making a transition from teaching in the academic environment to teaching in the corporate world. Opportunities at NBEA/NABTE conferences could be provided to assist these educators in making the transition.
  • Business teacher education programs could go beyond traditional business teacher education programs to prepare individuals for careers as corporate educators, which could result in an audience of older learners -- those who have degrees and work experiences and who are interested in making successful career transitions.
  • NABTE could create a task force to develop a model curriculum for education in business -- probably at the MA level. In 1995, NABTE drafted such a model curriculum, but it was never (approved?) for distribution. At the very least, courses in corporate learning and development should be developed as part of teacher education programs.
  • Business teacher education programs could encourage student teaching opportunities in corporate and continuing education environments for all potential business teachers. Teachers themselves could participate in community externships to ensure that their own skills and understandings of the workplace and the adult learner are current.
  • When possible, business educators should work to make new adult educational markets more flexible. The traditional semester-length course does not fit all learning needs. Those at the postsecondary level could reach out into the community to provide personalized learning programs that may or may not lead to degrees or certification, but would definitely help a program and its professoriate grow.
  • Business educators and our professional organization leadership are encouraged to think big. Need new technologies? Write a large grant (not a small grant). Need more space? Ask for a building (not an office or a room). Need more faculty? Ask for a team, not just an individual. Want better students? Raise your standards. Want more students? Expand the universe of potential students to the adult and corporate learning market.
Distance Learning: Its Impact on Business Education

Dennis LaBonty

The four people who participated in the distance learning topic were a diverse group of educators. Three were from postsecondary institutions and one was from a secondary school, and they represented the states of California, New York, Utah, and Washington. Three people were currently teaching at least one distance learning class, and one person was preparing to teach such a class in the fall. The group answered four questions related to distance learning.

Question 1: Will the number of business teacher education programs at the collegiate level increase, decrease, or stay the same with the promotion of distance learning alternatives?

Business education programs at the secondary level in Utah are decreasing. This is particularly true of accounting and marketing programs with some business teachers moving to the tech centers. Business education in New York is not required for graduation. Business teachers must try and integrate business education with other discipline areas and with other CTE programs. Job prospects for business educators are limited. The number of business teacher educators in California is decreasing as alternative routes into teaching increase. If there is an increase in business education at the secondary level, it will be coming from teachers who enter the profession through industry. In Washington, it is unclear which institutions will provide business teacher education. The State's two remaining teacher education institutions are struggling to continue. Perhaps future teachers will come from industry or other sources.

Question 2: At the collegiate level, what are the similarities and differences in programs offered in traditional business teacher education programs versus online programs?

Online classes should be hybrid courses. That is, there should be some on campus activities blended with online activities. It is difficult to monitor security on online assignments. Students should come to campus at least some of the time in an online course. Assessment is a key to successful online courses, and accountability is an issue. Students need engagement in order to develop soft skills in addition to the course content. There are strategies that work for online classes and instructors need to explore ways to make their classes flexible, include effective communication, and to use other tools such as video tapes and other media.

Question 3: Online classes are about university revenues. Would they exist if they weren't profitable for a college or university?

There are also issues about instructor compensation and property rights. Who owns the materials that are developed? Institutions need FTE and courses need high enrollments. When some classes go online they increase enrollment. Most students who take distance learning courses do so because it is convenient. If they could they would prefer to take courses face-to-face; however, since they are place bound, the online method works well for them. Faculty evaluations from online courses should be different from traditional courses, and issues about "getting papers back," "chats," and "other concerns" should be included on online course evaluations.

Question 4: What prevalence of distance learning (education) courses incorporate business education curricula at the secondary level in public school districts?

Some distance learning at the secondary level can be identified in New York. Several business courses such as accounting and management are being disseminated via distance learning. Other disciplines may use distance learning; this may exist in New York City. In Washington students in some areas can take economics, business math, foreign languages, or business law on line. In some high schools, students can take the necessary courses to receive an associate degree at the same time they graduate from high school. In California some distance learning courses are offered through community college and as advanced placement courses in articulation with higher education institutions. In Utah students can take some distance learning courses but not, as yet, business courses.

General Comments By Participants:

On the whole distance learning is a new paradigm for teaching. Motivating students requires new thoughts in teaching. Assessment was regarded by the participants as highly important to the success of distance learning courses. Ownership is also important. In face-to-face courses, students have more ownership, but in distance learning courses they may not. According to some, distance learning courses may be an injustice to education because there is no structure, discipline, and they are considered too easy. While research is inconclusive about online performance, there is enough evidence to convince most people that some forms of distance learning are successful. Using the right equipment effectively is essential to the success of distance learning courses.

The results of participants' responses at this Teachers' Café support the notion that there are many ideas "out there" about distance learning. However, I think that all participants agreed that distance learning is here to stay even though its effects on business education and business teacher education are unclear. The Agnew Group has identified the ubiquitous nature of distance education. Now, a greater challenge will be to determine its implication on business teacher education and its future impact on business education.


Pauline Newton

Gale Champion, a McGraw-Hill representative, attended to become informed as to the new movements in the technology curriculum for computer teachers.

1. Do you believe business education technology will slowly migrate from the high school to the community college level or from high school to the elementary level?

a. Keyboarding is being taught in grades 6-7-8; word processing to middle/secondary school and employment/career training to post secondary. It is recommended that PDAs, tablets, and similar functions be taught at secondary level with a course title such as "Digital Computing."

2. Will the business education technology class be considered an academic class by 2010, mandatory for all high school students?

a. We agreed that business education would never be considered as an academic subject; however, there is an increase in requiring a computer course for graduation credit throughout the nation.

3. When will the business education curriculum move from computer application (technology) courses to the soft skill curriculum?

a. It is believed that soft skills are already being taught in the business education curriculum (even within the computer application courses). More emphasis should be placed on ethics, values, reading, writing, and listening skills in all business education courses.

4. When will technology course be eliminated from all curriculums and be taught only in the corporate world? Or, is the corporate world already preparing students to handle the career opportunities that were once taught by secondary and post secondary institutions?

a. No specific answer to this question. We ventured into merit pay and its impact on the profession. There are positive and negative sides to the issue. Generally, there may be some potential in revitalizing instructor methodology.

Towards the end of the session, I asked Gale if she would like to share her firm's plans for business education:

Glencoe is planning an online newsletter for computer teachers. This newsletter will send short articles and information that would help computer teachers in their classrooms. The first issue is scheduled to appear in August 2005. The site will ask teachers to submit ideas to share with other teachers. In addition, Keyboarding Online will also be available. Log onto for more information; however, there may be a charge for some of this service.

The Image of Business Education

Sharon Lund O'Neil

An "image" statement and the following three general questions were provided to the Teacher's Café session participants at the National Business Education Association annual conference in Anaheim, California, 25 March 2005. The questions were:

1. What is the image of business education as perceived by a) business, industry, and government, b) business educators, c) other educators?

a. What factors contribute to similarities and differences among the groups' perceptions?
b. What value could result from determining if these images are (or are not) a true representation of the various constituents (e.g., are these "true" images or images seen "through our eyes")?
c. Should information be gathered about our image; why or why not? If so, what value or consequences will follow, and how should we proceed? If not, what will be gained or lost, and what is our next step?

2. Based on the identified image(s) of business education (no matter how strong or weak), what are the best ways to improve our image?
a. Who has responsibility for improving the image of business education and how should it be done?
b. What role should professional organizations take in improving our image?
c. What is your/my role in furthering our profession and improving our image?

3. What ROI or "measures of success" should we expect from enhancing our image?

Discussion about the "image of business education" that ensued from the participants included the following points:

  • Business educators need to market the tremendous value of a business education. Business teachers need to seek out publicity, awards, selling business education success stories, and getting the free "ink" that can result from publicizing our successes.

    *A better reality check is needed for all students entering the work force. That is, business and industry people suggest that book knowledge is not enough. Basic knowledge must have a context; it must be applied to be of value to the workplace.
  • A general perspective of state departments appears to be that business education (as a part of CTE-career and technology education) is less important than the core curriculum areas.
  • Preparing for real work requires a real application of the principles of work; principles that a business education provides.
  • High school business teachers need to inform others (on a continual basis) what business education does and explain the value of taking business education classes.
  • Modesty cannot be a virtue when it comes to marketing; business educators need to toot our horns to let everyone know how important business education is to every citizen.
  • Teachers of business education do not get the same accolades for their additional involvement (such as publishing the school newspaper and assisting with business-related activities requested of them by school administrators, etc.) that more popular, visible programs do (such as sports programs).
  • Business educators need to be much more aggressive in telling success stories of the discipline. Administrators have suggested business educators need to be more vocal about our successes. While college and university business faculty are "expected" to promote themselves, high school business educators have not become masters of marketing. Marketing is an understatement that needs to be promoted.
  • Business educators frequently are called upon for "doing those extra things" that business educators do so well, but business educators feel underappreciated for "taking care of business" in these extra efforts since no credit is given for the "expected" extra effort that business educators give as a result of their competence.
  • Business educators are unappreciated by many disciplines, especially by other educators, because a common perception is that "anyone can teach business education".
  • Why aren't business educators teaching economics? Other areas are taking economics over as "their area" as well as infringing on similar business education areas. Apparently we are letting "others" infringe on our area. Why are we permitting others to take over? Are business educators spread so thin that all bases can't be covered?
  • Would business education cease to exist if CTE weighted funding is not given to our area?
  • There is a lack of understanding of who we are by others. That is, many believe business education is "typing" and "secretarial"-a perception that is stereotyped.
  • Business education needs to become more closely allied with the business community. Business educators must seek out business "partners" and not wait for them to find us.
  • Should a survey of business and industry be considered to identify what others really think about business education-to identify the "real" image of business education?
  • Why are students less prepared for work than they have been in years gone by? This perception by business and industry sometimes puts blame on business education.
  • A legislative day (and repeated again and again) where business educators visit state legislators is needed to spread the word about our profession and its benefits to society.
  • What is missing today in business education is the PASSION or being "on fire" for business education. New, younger teachers need to "catch the fire" and older teachers need to "mentor" younger people to rekindle the passion for career success.
  • There is a passive-aggressive behavior of a considerable number of teachers toward many entities-toward administrators, professional conferences, organization memberships, etc.-thus, a commitment to a professional career has a lot of gaps.
  • Business educators need to look at each area of the discipline from a psychological perspective; that the psychology of the field should guide business educators in everything that is done.
  • Many teachers feel they are not getting their money's worth from joining a professional organization-or from participating in professional organization-sponsored activities.
  • What is the first step business educators must take to improve the image of business education? TELL your own story. Get students to write legislators. Brag on students.
  • We must train our students to do things better than we did.
  • Do we gripe/whine …about many things that we can't change or don't want to "make the effort to change"…about funding, administration, low pay, etc. Or, alternatively, do we tell our success stories and "win approval" of our positives.
  • Business educators must promote things that are positive-things that are going well-not the negatives (no one wants to associate with negative behavior).
  • Tell every business education story in a positive way; capitalize on what is right (and the positive outcomes will result in positive recruiting and positive outcomes).
  • Deliver the accolades of business education to the people who need it; eliminate any problems by "solving" them rather than just talking about them as problems.
  • The turnover of teachers may be due to an appreciation (or lack of it) factor. Low cost is no cost; getting to put money in the right places is getting to the crux of the matter-showing the importance of a business education-showing appreciation.
  • How can business educators promote an atmosphere of appreciation? How can business educators be involved? Business educators need to support a "campus plan" by promoting the elements that show business education's success and promote its value.
  • How does teaching basic core subjects, such as statistics, promote the business education discipline? Does the success factor enter into the equation of what subjects are important-that is, does success enhance the importance of business education?
  • Business education must support and promote success in the required assessment and testing of students.
  • Business education needs a consistent foundation just as has been found in English, math, and history. Business education as a discipline is too diversified. Business education has too many different courses and too many different "catchy" titles for courses.
  • Is business education still considered a "dumping ground" for students to enter at any time under any circumstances because they don't "fit in" to other highly sequenced courses? If so, does this promote business education as a value-added discipline or as a "holding ground" for anyone who needs a place to land?
  • Business education and marketing education should be combined to build a strong base of core courses that are essential for every student to take. Both "areas" taken individually are much weaker than taken together as a combined front whereby both can benefit from the strengths of the other.
Curriculum Trends: What Should We Be Teaching in the 21st Century?

Connie Forde and Peter Meggison

The following questions were prepared and distributed to those who attended this roundtable session:

1. How can teachers maintain currency with so many factors impacting their desire to maintain a relevant curriculum in addition to technology-the global economy, entrepreneurship and personal finance, future work issues such as workplace privacy, etc.?

The teachers participating in this session felt that this was an on-going problem and that there did not appear to be any let up in sight. Technology especially has necessitated that the business education teacher of today constantly keep abreast of emerging and developing technological trends.

2. Changing technology requires rapid adaptation of both content and methodology. How can this best be accomplished without the teacher experiencing burnout?

Teachers do experience a certain amount of "burnout" in their attempts to continually maintain currency. Most of the teachers felt that they enjoy teaching technology; however, it does become burdensome in trying to keep up with everything that might be on the horizon. Administrators must be attuned to this serious issue. There is probably no definitive answer to the "burnout" issue. Selecting excellent teaching/ learning materials with corresponding ancillaries may help to alleviate the "burnout" issue. Teachers need to constantly look for ways to use technology to assist in "working smarter."

3. Specifically, what are some of the trends impacting the business curriculum of today and the foreseeable future that are "musts" for inclusion in the preparation of the workforce? If we glance at the topics included on the program of this NBEA convention, we will have some clues!

Topics include various facets of information technology such as those being presented in the hands-on workshops; i.e., digital photography, voice recognition, security issues, web-related, and many other issues. Other areas include globalization, on-line instruction, and dealing with students with diverse backgrounds. Traditional skills such as keyboarding and word processing need to be taught as vigorously, if not more vigorously, than in the past. State-mandated testing is another trend found throughout the country. (See Item 7)

4. How can today's curriculum best be integrated for optimized learning? Specifically, what resources and instructional strategies should we use? What business content can be integrated into other academic areas?

We need to continually work with teachers in the so-called academic areas to ensure integration and assimilation of business content. If such activities are planned effectively, linkages can be developed to ensure optimum learning experiences. The Policies Commission's Statement issued in 2005 addresses this issue in detail.

5. What curriculum and scheduling patterns best meet the needs of today's learners? What changes need to be made? How can these changes be initiated and supported by faculty, parents, administrators, and even students?

Online instruction will take on more importance in business education program even at the secondary level. While this type of instruction will not be for all students, it can be used as an alternative curriculum pattern for many learners.

6. What does Business Education at the Secondary Level mean -- is it preparation for and about business or is it solely technology?

Business education at the secondary level needs to retain its dual purpose-education for and about business. While technology will continue to be a major component of business instruction at the high school level, others areas are just as important; i.e., accounting, personal finance and economic education, soft skills, etc.

7. What impact does mandated state testing have on business course offerings? Will federal legislation affect the emerging content and structure of business education?

This is a great concern for business educators at the secondary level. Leadership is needed to ensure that business course offerings are not diminished because of trends in mandatory testing of students at the state levels. Secondary teachers, as much as possible, need to integrate the academic subject matter being tested into their own curriculum; i.e., English, math, etc. Teachers of accounting, for example, could state on their lesson plans the math competencies that are being taught via accounting. Some career and technical programs are doing this successfully to show added worth and value to their programs.

8. What factors influence students to enroll in business courses? Do these influences affect the course offerings?

Generally, business education does not have the "negative" image it once did at the secondary level. Since "tracking" does not exist to the extent it once did, students often elect business courses (i.e., technology-related, personal finance, etc.) as part of their normal course of study. Students often contemplate studying "business" in college; thus, high school courses in business are often viewed as preparation for what is to come in college.

9. Will online education affect business education at the secondary level?

Generally, most business educators believe that online education will impact secondary business education; but they are unsure of the extent of its impact.

10. Lack of leadership/advocacy for business education is cause for concern in many states. What can be done to improve the situation?

This is a major concern for business educators since they feel they do not have an effective "spokesperson" at the state level. More and more states have eliminated the position of state director of business education, and it appears that this trend will continue. Thus, business education associations at the state and national levels have an even more important role to play in leadership and advocacy for business programs. Business teachers need to be given an opportunity to network with other business educators and to learn about exemplary programs of study. Membership in NBEA, the regional affiliates, the state associations, and various other professional associations is crucial in order for this to take place.


Burt Kaliski and Marcia Anderson

General information shared during the discussion included:

  • National Center for Education Information ( contains information on alternative certification programs and announces national conferences for alternative certification.
  • California, for example, a designated subjects credential is given to those teachers who have the content background but not the education background. There are 72 Regional Occupational Programs in the state, and many of the ROP teachers hold this credential.

1. The traditional route to certification as a business teacher has been supplemented in virtually all of our states by alternative routes. Who pursues the alternative routes?

The individuals who seek these alternative programs are usually some older who wants a shorter route with credit for experience or previous work. It appears that 18 year olds are not selecting teaching as an occupation. Today's younger students may be looking at the money to be made in the business world.

2. What is the role of NABTE institutions in preparing business teachers who choose the alternative routes?

NABTE standards may need to be adapted for alternative certification and the needed mentoring role. These institutions in California offer such programs: Cal Poly Pomona, Fresno State, Humboldt State; San Jose has a general program.

3. What is the role of NBEA re: alternative certifications?

NBEA should be reaching out with NABTE leadership -- NABTE could initiate communication with nonmembers to convince them to join or at least to offer the special methods in business education courses for alternative certification students.

NBEA Convention planners should consider more extensive sessions on instructional methods. They should consider using textbook authors as instructors for some of the sessions.

4. What will be the short- and long-range impacts on our profession as a result of alternative certifications?

Teachers completing alternative certification definitely come with different backgrounds and views regarding education. Having a bachelor's degree in business and extensive work experience in business definitely is a benefit over an individual graduating with a bachelor's degree with business and education courses and limited work experience.

5. Is there a difference in the level of professional involvement of teachers prepared by alternative routes from those prepared in a traditional route?

A general perception is that these individuals display individualistic tendencies and want to do their own thing.

Delta Pi Epsilon (DPE)

Minneapolis, MN – November 2006 (Burt Kaliski and Judy Lambrecht)

Two of the eleven current members of TAG presented at the annual Delta Pi Epsilon Conference in Minneapolis, November 16-18, 2006.  They were Drs. Judy Lambrecht and Burt Kaliski.  Judy, along with colleagues and then non-TAG member Cyril Kesten, presented the latest findings from their Delphi study on business education.  Burt chaired the session at which Judy and Cyril presented and had some time to present an update of the activities of TAG for the past year and thoughts on future directions.  There was also time for some enthusiastic discussion about the role and place of TAG and the future of the field of business education.  Over 40 DPE members were in attendance.

International Society for Business Education (ISBE)

Vienna, AU – July 2007 (Michael Bronner and Bridget O’Connor)

TAG members, Bridget O’Connor and Michael Bronner attended and presented at the annual international meeting (ISBE), held in Vienna, Austria during the summer of 2007.  While the focus of the conference dealt primarily with international workplace learning situations and activities, a major portion of the O’Connor/Bronner presentation covered the current and potential futures of the U.S. business education field.  TAG activities were enumerated, and comparisons were made to other countries, also wrestling with similar questions and scenarios.  The globalization of workplace education and learning in our ‘one world’ economy cannot be—and was not—overemphasized at this international week-long gathering.

National Business Education Association (NBEA)

New York City, NY – April 2007 (Burt Kaliski and Michael Bronner)

TAG co-founders Burt Kaliski and Michael Bronner, along with a number of TAG members, Bridget O’Connor, Marcia Anderson, Sharon Lund O’Neil, and Judy Lambrecht, presented at the NBEA national meeting, illustrating the work to that point that TAG had achieved.  These achievements included—but were not limited to—the publication of a ‘white paper’ entitled Six Critical Questions, a presentation made by Kaliski as the Peter L. Agnew Memorial Lecturer at New York University in 2002; numerous local, state, regional, national, and international meetings focusing on the future of business education as a field; and the ongoing work of Lambrecht on directing her Delphi study concerning this future.  An enthusiastic discussion ensued, which brought nearly all of the 60 attendees into the conversation and provided fodder for the rest of the NBEA meeting.

Delta Pi Epsilon (DPE)

New Orleans, LA – November 2007 (The Agnew Group)

Eight of the eleven current TAG members attended the annual Delta Pi Epsilon meeting in New Orleans, November 15-17, 2007 and made presentations focused on the chapters they had each written for the Special Issue of the DPE Journal, then just published (Vol. XLIX, No. 1, Winter, 2007).  TAG members included Drs. Bridget O’Connor (journal editor and research chapter; Michael Bronner and Burt Kaliski (history and views of the future); Judy Lambrecht (Delphi study findings); Martha Rader and Peter Meggison (curriculum); Bronner and Kaliski again (new opportunities and options); Marcia Anderson (the preparation of business education teachers); and while Sharon Lund O’Neil and Connie Forde were unable to attend, their chapter on professional organizations was presented by other TAG members present.  Kaliski and Bronner ended this opening session by offering the next steps for our field (an action agenda).  A lively discussion followed from the more than 50 DPE members in attendance.

Anchorage School District Career and Technical Education Conference

(Anchorage, AK – February 2008 (Burt Kaliski and Michael Bronner)

TAG co-founders Burt Kaliski and Michael Bronner were invited to the annual Anchorage School District Career and Technology Education Conference in Anchorage on February 7-8, 2008.  They had the chance to attend the conference informally as well as to present in a formal session to the business educators of Alaska.  The presentation that TAG gave in New Orleans was adapted to the Alaskan business education scene, which is primarily oriented to the secondary level.  The 25-plus business teachers in attendance were extremely attentive and interested in the findings and how they might apply to business education in Alaska.  They have taken on their own task of looking at changes in business education in their state in the future, including the possible formation of an Alaska Business Education Association.

Western Business Education Association (WBEA/WBITE)

Scottsdale, AZ – May 2008 (Martha Rader, Pauline Newton, and Kim Bartell)


During the presentation, Pauline Newton asked attendees to write down their answers to the question "What will business education become by the year 2020?"  Their responses were collected, and below is an edited transcript of each:

  • There will be no Business Education in 2020
  • Business Education in 2020 will certainly evolve into a more virtual environment
  • Business Education will become more general education. Computer education will evolve to a simple touch screen effort, thus minimizing keyboarding instruction
  • A robot program will emerge involving: Online-Inline-Offline procedures
  • Business Education will return to include managerial education, and virtual education will predominate
  • Business Education will be absorbed into other general subject areas. Specific skills be all taught using OJT beyond our traditional classrooms
  • Business Education will involve customer service instruction and basic skill reviews
  • Business Education in 2020 will include more technology and team work; skill instruction will possibly disappear with little or no Business Education at the secondary level due to assessment requirements or imbedded in courses. There will be no Business Education subject specialists, and online courses will prevail
  • Business Education will feature all on-line courses through the Internet
  • Business Education will provide basic skills education and preparation for jobs that are not even in existence today
  • In 2020 Business Education will be an aspect of and included in all course work at the secondary level


  • California Business Education Association (CBEA/Bay Section) – Sonoma, CA – November 2008 (Michael Bronner and Pauline Newton)
  • Delta Pi Epsilon (DPE) – Chicago, IL – November 2008 (The Agnew Groups 1 and 2)