FBLA participants required to take Virtual Enterprise next year

Isabelle Zhou (Jr.) during her campaign for Southern Section VP of Activities. (Courtesy of Erik Mumm)

By AKBAR AMIN
Staff Writer

Students who want to participate in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club will be required to take Virtual Enterprise, a business-related class, starting next year.

The California government has threatened to cut funding for student organizations unless the members have also taken classes in the area of interest by a certified teacher.

This is a huge problem for many Southern Californian schools because the majority of them don’t have business classes in the first place, let alone those which are taught by a certified teacher,” said UHS FBLA President Megha Torpunuri (Sr.). “And this is the reason why students get involved in the organization in the first place – it’s the only outlet on school campus for this interest.”

“What’s even worse about this matter is that the school prioritizes juniors and seniors for elective classes, so freshmen and sophomores wouldn’t even be able to take FBLA until later on. Unless, of course, UHS provides a larger class size for Virtual Enterprise,” said Michael Dang (Jr.).

Information about the regulations have not been released online, but club-advisors have been told about the new Career and Technical Education (CTE) standards. Adviser of both UHS’s FBLA club and of the FBLA Southern Section, Ms. Shannon Lenert (Mathematics Dept.) has said that because the standards are a state-level decision, she is unable to do anything to change the CTE standards.

The new regulations are angering students who have been participating in FBLA for a long time, especially those who are involved in the Southern Section Office, which represents FBLA for all of Southern California.

FBLA’s Southern Section Leadership Associate, Isabelle Zhou (Jr.) said, “The idea that students from schools without established CTE programs are prohibited from participating in FBLA is hugely unfair; students should not be prevented from pursuing an activity they love simply because of external regulations. FBLA has been such an integral part of my personal growth and high school experience that I honestly cannot imagine where I would be had I been prevented from participating in it.”

Elaborating further on the effects of the new standards, Zhou said, “There are currently three people from Uni who won their elections for Southern Section Office, but now cannot serve because of the regulation.”

Not only are FBLA members angered by this, but so are Virtual Enterprise students. “The logic behind this idea is completely nonexistent. What’s worse is that this affects the ability of striving business leaders, in that it places them well below their maximum potential,” said Virtual Enterprise student Eric Xu (Jr.). “How is business any different? Why should we hinder our aspiring entrepreneurs and economists so? We should not allow this twisted sense of equality to be the ceiling for our students.”

UPDATE: According to Zhou, although the CTE regulations are still in place, FBLA found a CTE-certified advisor, Mr. Chris Gonzales (DHH Dept.). FBLA is still looking for a traveling advisor in order for the club to continue next year. However, this does not change the regulations for the club, students will still have to be enrolled in the class Virtual Enterprise or an after school ROP to be part of the club.  

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