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Once is Not Enough—Together, Yes We Can

April 23 Once is Not Enough—Together, Yes We CanBy Helen Roberts, Clinical Professor in Economics at UIC and Director, UIC Center for Economic Education

Practice Makes Perfect

How can our children learn the necessary skills and knowledge to be financially literate? Like reading and driving and other important life skills, one try, one course, one time is not enough to be proficient.

To learn to drive a car, students must learn the rules of the road. To drive their financial lives, students need to learn the rules of good financial life, such the importance of saving, budgeting, and protecting their money. Just as reading about driving is not enough, students need to practice as they go.

Plan the Journey

What does it mean for schools to take financial literacy seriously? In the Chicago Public Schools, the several departments (such as math, social studies, counseling, literacy) and outside partners are cooperatively developing a financial literacy curriculum guide with links to resources for teachers for every grade from Kindergarten through High School. The guide will be the road map. Children do not become literate in reading in one short course. They also need well-designed and age-appropriate curriculum, including repeated practice, to become literate about the financial economy. They need to start at an early age and to deepen their understanding of the financial world as they grow and develop. Parents are crucial at every step—living examples and frequent opportunities to practice making good financial decision, reinforcing good financial decisions like saving for desired toys and activities.

A financial literacy curriculum guide recognizes that even young children are constructing their world and are taking action in it. Kindergartners trade with each other, make choices, and perform many other economic activities. They love to see how understanding the rules and identifying their costs (including opportunity costs) can improve their choices.  As children grow, their choices and horizons broaden. As they progress through the grades they learn about choices and opportunities for families, communities and countries, about earning income, saving, credit, investing, and protecting and insuring.  Financial literacy is so much more than just budgeting and banking!  Students build understanding through the grade levels. The guide will give teachers lessons that both teach how the world works and age-appropriate just-in-time financial applications for grade. Teachers can choose from a menu of activities and lessons to fit their students’ interests and needs.

Teachers as a group often do not feel prepared to teach financial literacy topics, let alone economics topics as well. Along with the course design and financial literacy curriculum guide, many entities are working together to provide. Professional development for teachers new to economics and financial literacy. Both outside partners and teachers previously trained and experienced with implementing these lessons with Chicago Public Schools children help to prepare teachers new to the capstone course and the curriculum guide.

What does ‘financially literate’ really mean?

The culmination is a 12th-grade capstone financial literacy course, which this semester is being taught for the 3rd time. In this course, students learn how the economic way of thinking and making decisions work, supply, demand, and government interact—how the economics of the world they are about to enter works. They study career choice and preparation, getting jobs, and entrepreneurship. It is exciting to hear their plans for the future! They learn how to protect and invest their savings, when to borrow and when not, and what questions to ask at each stage in their lives. Finally, they learn about consumer protection and insurance. The world is risky, so which risks should I insure against?  Again, not worksheets but real problems and practical answers. How to properly fill out a job application, and where to be suspicious when a fast-talking market guru puts on the hard sell.

Signs of progress

The early results from Chicago are encouraging. The financial literacy curriculum guide is nearing completion. The capstone course has been taught several semesters. Teachers and students like the course—it is relevant and fun. Students’ confidence in their decision making, career choices, and risk management rises after the course. Teachers report that students request the Econoland Game: Please, let’s play it again! On learning that by NOT saving, they give up interest they could have earned, they choose to save. We look forward to better financial choices in the future!

POSTED: April 23, 2014 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nation’s Top High School Students Vie for Championship in National Economics Challenge in NYC

Eight Finalist Teams Compete for Championship, Chance to Ring NYSE Closing Bell

Not too many adults know the difference between an IRA and a 401k, let alone Keynesian and Monetarist theories. But eight high school teams nailed these and other brainbusters to compete in the final rounds of the 14th Annual National Economics Challenge. This year’s winners have outpaced over 10,500 students to vie for more than just the championship: the victors will also ring the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange!

The National Economics Challenge, hosted by the Council for Economic Education, applies the excitement of an athletic competition to academic excellence. Competitions are held at the State, National Semi-Final, and National Final levels in two divisions: the Adam Smith Division (for advanced placement, international baccalaureate and honors students) and the David Ricardo Division (for students who have only taken a single semester economics course). Topics covered include micro- and macro-economic priorities, international and current events.

The finals, held May 18-19 in New York City, include written exams, a critical thinking round and culminate in a “quiz-bowl” round held at WNET Studios at Lincoln Center. The quiz bowl will be co-hosted by CNBC Senior Economics Reporter Steve Liesman, and will also include special guest video questions from Janet Yellen, the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.

The winners not only take home the trophy, they depart immediately from the studio to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell!

Watch the final round of the competition live on Monday, May 19th at 1 PM at WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in Manhattan by tuning into our Facebook page www.facebook.com/councilforeconed.

ADAM SMITH DIVISION

Bellaire High School/Bellaire, Texas

Carmel High School/Carmel, Indiana

Iolani School/Honolulu, Hawaii

Grissom High School/Huntsville, Alabama

 

DAVID RICARDO DIVISION

Little Falls Community High School/Little Falls, Minnesota

Carmel High School/Carmel, Indiana

Hunter College High School/New York, New York

Souderton Area High School/Souderton, Pennsylvania

For more information visit www.councilforeconed.org/econchallenge.

 

POSTED: April 22, 2014 | BY: Morgan Hoey | TAGS: ,

Meet the 2014 National Economics Challenge Finalists

Eight high school teams have earned a trip to New York City to compete for cash prizes and academic recognition in the 14th Annual National Economics Challenge. The eight teams won both state and Semi-Finals competitions in their respective divisions, defeating students from 40 states to advance to the Finals. The Challenge offers students two levels of competition on the basis of their course enrollment. Students enrolled in advanced placement, international baccalaureate and honors economics courses entered the Adam Smith Division, and students enrolled in single semester general economics classes competed in the David Ricardo Division. The Finalist teams are:

ADAM SMITH DIVISION (AP, IB and honors students)
Bellaire High School/Bellaire, Texas
Carmel High School/Carmel, Indiana
Iolani School/Honolulu, Hawaii
Grissom High School/Huntsville, Alabama

DAVID RICARDO DIVISION (single semester general economics students)
Little Falls Community High School/Little Falls, Minnesota
Carmel High School/Carmel, Indiana
Hunter College High School/New York, New York
Souderton Area High School/Souderton, Pennsylvania

The finals, held May 18–19 in New York City, include written exams, a critical thinking round and culminate in a “quiz-bowl” round. The quiz bowl will be co-hosted by CNBC Senior Economics Reporter Steve Liesman, and will also include special guest video questions from Janet Yellen, the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Watch the final round of the competition live on Monday, May 19th at 1 PM at WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in Manhattan by tuning into our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/councilforeconed.

POSTED: April 22, 2014 | BY: Morgan Hoey | TAGS:

Financial Literacy: Its Importance in the (Woman’s) Future

April 22 150x150 Financial Literacy: Its Importance in the (Woman’s) Future

By Kathleen Brennan, 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Teaching Champion Award recipient.

It goes without saying that today’s females have career opportunities that weren’t available to them a century ago.  The statistics are impressive– according to the U.S. Bureau of Census, females make up 60% of college graduates and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that labor participation rates of females have increased from 32% in 1950 to about 57% in 2012. Women have come a long way. The good news is that women have made great strides in breaking the glass ceiling and closing the pay gap; the bad news is that they still lag well behind men in terms of financial literacy. Ignorance in financial matters is particularly concerning since women have unique financial challenges—while many women rely on their husbands “to handle the money”,  the reality is that 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives due to the death of a spouse or divorce (Gender Gap in Financial Literacy 2012). Clearly, a man cannot be a “financial plan”. Read more…

POSTED: April 22, 2014 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , ,

Saving the Young: A Tale of Financial Literacy

April 19 150x150 Saving the Young: A Tale of Financial LiteracyBy Lihi Yusufov

For 16 years, I have had the privilege of being surrounded by financially literate people. My parents know how to handle their finances, and of course, make sure I do too.  My family carries an entrepreneurial spirit through owning a couple of businesses and starting their own ventures. Because of this, I gained a business perspective when venturing through life. I have worked in various fields and noticed that with every field comes a certain expectation of financial literacy. When I interned at a law office, I realized how pertinent finance was in this industry. Without financial mastery, the business would be incapable of sustaining itself. I became aware of this at an early age in my life. However, I noticed that many Americans still struggle with financial literacy. Read more…

POSTED: April 21, 2014 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Importance of Financial Education

April 18 751x1024 The Importance of Financial Education

By Senator Josh Stein, 16th District of North Carolina Senator.

Financial Literacy is critically important to the health of our nation and our state. If anyone ever doubted that statement, just consider our current economic situation.

We are in the midst of a slow recovery from the Great Recession created by the financial crisis, which was a result of financial markets that were out of whack and borrowers not understanding what they were getting themselves into. Read more…

POSTED: April 18, 2014 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , , ,

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