Why submit kids to textbook theory when you can show them the real thing? Fairchild Industries Inc., an aerospace company, places 12 business-minded high school students on a junior board of directors at its facilities in Germantown, Md., and its division in Farming-dale, N.Y. Every year, from February to May, students meet weekly with each location's senior managers. The students are encouraged to question, opine, and criticize. They don't get academic credit, but each one does get 25 shares of company stock, and plenty of first-hand experience.

"It shows young people how a company works," says Richard Gardiner, program coordinator. "It also establishes good relations with the local community."