“Economics is so boring and why does it even matter?” is the most common response I hear when asking a student about high school economics. However, most of us know all too well that economics is literally everywhere. As my father says, “follow the money and you will have your answer.” With the right resources, teachers can engage, inspire, and empower.
With the right resources, teachers can engage, inspire, and empower students with a sharp understanding of sound economic principles, its direct historical ties to human achievement, and how the world really works.
Business Insider recently published an article about what teachers wish they could tell their students but feel like they can’t. Interviewed teachers wished they could say the following:
Knowing the answers to a test does not make you smart...What is important is the life skills you learn... how to argue effectively and communicate with different types of people, how to listen to others and respond respectfully, and to be independent (self-reliant) adults."
What if we could provide every teacher in every classroom with the tools needed for students to learn these critical life skills, to acquire clarity, and thoughtful, respectful communication skills? These ‘new’ ideas may seem new but they are actually fundamental economic principles which, sadly, are rarely found in today’s textbooks.
The Foundation for Economic Education is proud to be able to offer these tools at no charge to teachers. It’s called The Classroom Kit and it contains four books for each student: I, Pencil, The Law, Economics in One Lesson, and Great Myths of the Great Depression. Teachers will also receive a Study Guide so they can facilitate class discussion, no matter their background or subject-matter expertise. The discussion guides contain relevant content that is easily digestible and comprehensive. This is the perfect supplement for teaching Macro/Micro Economics, American Government, Civics, Political Science, US History, and for any Business or Debate Club or youth organization.
I, Pencil by Leonard E. Read, is an eye-opening story about the simple fact that there is not one single person in the entire world who, all alone, can make a pencil from scratch. Read’s essay teaches basic economic principles such as cooperation, free trade, division of labor, specialization, and the interconnectivity of the global marketplace. It’s told in first person narrative from the pencil’s perspective which makes it a fun and memorable experience for students of all ages.
If there is one book I would recommend for every student in the world as a rite of passage into adulthood, it would be The Law by Frédéric Bastiat because who doesn’t want and love freedom? Bastiat brilliantly presents the proper role of government necessary for man to live freely and in peace with one another in the clearest and most concise manner. His simple use of language reads effortlessly with purpose and intention and no unnecessary jargon.
All of these stories, essays, and discussions are designed specifically for educators.
Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt, is a concise compilation of critical economic concepts, analyzing how prices are determined, how wealth is created, effects of top-down central planning, the broken window fallacy, and other seen and unseen consequences of government actions. As eloquently stated by Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek, there is “no other modern book from which the intelligent layman can learn so much about the basic truths of economics in so short a time.”
What was the real cause of the Great Depression? The Foundation for Economic Education’s President Lawrence W. Reed presents a simple and direct explanation to this question that many textbooks tend to muddle in his essay entitled Great Myths of the Great Depression. The myths about what caused the catastrophic economic collapse in the U.S. between 1929-1941 are debunked and make for stimulating classroom conversation.
Light Bulb Moments
All of these stories, essays, and discussions are designed specifically for educators to deliver economic concepts in a new light that are applicable to everyday life, no matter which personal or professional path a student chooses. Witness first hand the “light bulb” moments and subsequent confidence gained when they realize that economics just makes sense.
Good teachers can actually alter students’ trajectories by having a positive influence on the fundamental way they think. Good teachers can guide students towards a love of lifelong learning and give them the much-needed tools to live meaningful, prosperous, and happy lives.
Students will thrive as they embrace sound economic principles and realize its direct link to personal and societal flourishing. It’s exciting and rewarding for both teachers and students and they will talk about you for years to come as the teacher who really made a difference!