April is financial literacy month, which always stirs debate over how to best teach kids about money in school. This week, Right About Money contributor and award-winning personal finance teacher Brian Page highlights nonprofits that are making a difference. These organizations offer valuable, free financial literacy resources. We urge educators, thought leaders and others to share this Key Resource series and help the financial literacy movement build from the ground up.
Early in my career, I was a roaming teacher without a classroom to call my own. At one point I taught seven classes in six periods, teaching a technology class to roughly fifteen students and an AP Macro class of two students in the same time slot. I was overwhelmed—and unable to construct each lesson from scratch. My local economic center at the University of Cincinnati served as a lifeline with ready-made lessons, and I will be forever grateful.
The Council for Economic Education helps fill that gap for thousands of teachers. It has focused on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school for nearly 70 years. All resources and programs are developed by educators and delivered by a national network of affiliates—over 240 across the country. Each year, they train approximately 55,000 teachers in person, and those teachers, in turn, reach approximately 5 million students throughout the country. What makes CEE work?
“It is our model,” says Nan Morrison, President and CEO. “We combine professional development for teachers with great content. In the teacher training, we enhance teachers’ subject matter knowledge, demonstrate how to teach the lessons, and offer curriculum integration strategies. And importantly, experienced educators—professors of economics or economic education, or master teachers—conduct the training and drive the development of classroom lessons so that both meet teacher expectations.”
CEE’s Annual Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference is jammed with learning opportunities for financial and economic education teachers. It was at a past CEE conference that I was first introduced to the Survey of the States, a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the U.S. This year’s conference will be October 6-7 for educators in trendy Brooklyn, New York.
One of my favorite CEE tools is the wildly popular EconEdLink, an internet-based interactive catalogue of economic and personal finance materials for K-12 teachers. There are hundreds of free, searchable, online lessons. Each one contains both a teacher’s version and a student’s version. EconEdLink gets more than a million visits a year. Yet CEE has been working tirelessly on improving the tool.
“We have made the site much easier to navigate and added a ‘Get Started’ section for teachers new to the site,” Morrison said. “One of my favorite new areas is the ‘topics’ section with theme-based units. We have added behavioral economics, the economics of sports, and math in the real world among others. Cyber security is coming soon, and we have just released lessons to be used with Minecraft Education in partnership with Microsoft.”
To learn more about the Council for Economic Education you can visit their website or follow them @Council4EconEd.
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