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The Center for Economic Education

Previous Teacher Programs

 

 

Teachers listen intently to presenter Jackie Morgan

Teachers listen intently to presenter Jackie Morgan

Workshop presenter Jackie Morgan 

 Workshop speaker, Jackie Morgan, presents Classroom Economist materials to area teachers.

The Classroom Economist

 

The Probasco Chair's Center for Economic Education, in cooperation with the Nashville branch of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, presented "The Classroom Economist" teacher workshop. Teachers attending gained a better understanding of economic concepts including the Federal Reserv's goals and functions, unemployment, and inflation. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart presented "U.S. Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy." Additionally, the session showcased the various online interactive lessons available from the Federal Reserve. Numerous resource ideas were shared to aid teachers in bringing economic topics to life in the classroom.

 

 

 Teachers pose for a group picture at Costa Rica's Continental Divide

Teachers pose for a group picture at Costa Rica's Continental Divide.

Dr. J.R. Clark addresses Environmental Moral Imperatives in Tortuguero

Dr. J.R. Clark addresses Environmental Moral Imperatives in Tortuguero.

The Scientific and Economic Analysis
of Environmental Issues:
An Institute for Teachers on Environmentalism

 

"The Scientific and Economic Analysis of Environmental Issues: An Institute for Teachers on Environmentalism" brought together science and economics teachers at the grades 9-12 level in a variety of interesting ecosystems in Costa Rica to acquaint them with the alternative disciplines' contribution to environmental policy. Site visits to rainforest, coastal, and marine habitats in Costa Rica highlighted the extraordinary ecosystems and the successful environmental policies to prevalent ecological problems such as endangered species, pollution, and habitat loss that have been instituted in the area. The participants were exposed to classroom and field instruction in environmental science from the perspective of a scientist, as well as the analysis of environmental policy from the perspective of an economist. Seminars on current environmental issues were led by prominent environmental scientists and economic educators. By allowing teachers to simultaneously hear about the environmental issues while exploring each habitat, the potential impact of the workshop is that both teachers and their many students will become more knowledgeable concerning current economic events that affect their lives, and in turn, they will become better informed citizens with the knowledge to examine both the costs and benefits of proposed environmental policies.

 

 

 Teachers from multiple disciplines attended The Economics and Mathematics of the Global Financial Crisis presented by the Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise.

Teachers from multiple disciplines attended The Economics and Mathematics of the Global Financial Crisis presented by the Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise.

Keynote Speaker, Dr. James Gwartney, addresses teachers from the tri-state area.

Keynote Speaker, Dr. James Gwartney, addresses teachers from the tri-state area.

The Economics and Mathematics of the Global Financial Crisis

 

The Economics and Mathematics of the Global Financial Crisis Teacher Workshop addressed the importance of increasing students’ knowledge and understanding of the topics relevant to today’s economy. In the intensive one-week workshop, teachers were educated on ways to communicate economic and mathematical principles to their students to better inform them on the global issues they will encounter now and in the future as citizens.

The workshop presented an extremely opportune time to improve teachers' ability to relate these economic and mathematical principles to their students while public attention is focused on global financial issues. Most of the key issues of the crisis revolve around the relative magnitudes of economic variables such as government spending to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), debt and deficits to GDP per capita, taxation to earnings, and capitalization to debt. Incorporating the mathematics of economics into the workshop broadened the comprehension of not only the causes of the financial crisis, but also the scale of the bailout packages and plans proposed to address the crisis. To help eliminate the confusion inherent in the massive dollar amounts and infinite statistics associated with this crisis, students require an understanding not only of the economics involved in concepts such as GDP, debt, and deficits, but also the mathematical magnitude of how the recent changes in the economy will affect their lives and the world.

 

 

 Tri-State teachers listen attentively to the ethical dilemmas presented.

Tri-State teachers listen attentively to the ethical dilemmas presented.

Dr. Mark Schug speaks about Teaching the Ethical Foundations of Economics.

Dr. Mark Schug speaks about Teaching the Ethical Foundations of Economics.

Teaching the Ethical Foundations of Economics

 

On November 8, 2007, the Probasco Chair’s Center for Economic Education hosted a teacher workshop on “Teaching the Ethical Foundations of Economics.” The event was co-sponsored by the National Council on Economic Education through a grant from the Templeton Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, with featured speakers Mark Schug and Jackie Morgan addressing twenty one tri-state teachers. The workshop text, Teaching the Ethical Foundation of Economics, written by Dr. Schug, was designed to arm teachers with the materials and strategies to teach the ethical side of economics to their students. The text provides lessons that do more than illustrate how ethical conduct improves an economy; they actively involve the students through simulation, group decision making, problem solving, classroom demonstrations and role playing. The lessons encourage students to think critically about ethical dilemmas.

 

In the afternoon portion of the seminar, Jackie Morgan divided the workshop participants into pairs, providing handouts designed for classroom use, and asked teachers to label the situations depicted on the handout as ethical or unethical. The situations, which could be viewed simply at first, when looked at from other viewpoints, generated valuable discussion and were much more ethically ambiguous. She then asked the teachers to imagine how they might use the handout in their classrooms. Ms. Morgan concluded the afternoon by presenting more materials and programs offered by the Federal Reserve for classroom use. When asked about the success of the workshop and materials, Ms. Morgan responded, “The interaction with the teachers was fantastic and very engaging. A lot of interesting questions were raised. It’s always a pleasure working with the Probasco Chair. This partnership is very important, and we look forward to working together in the future.”

 

 

  Dr. Quispe-Agnoli addresses area teachers on outsourcing and its effect on the American economy.

Dr. Quispe-Agnoli addresses area teachers on outsourcing and its effect on the American economy.

During the two day seminar, teachers enjoyed a presentation on new economic education materials.

During the two day seminar, teachers enjoyed a presentation on new economic education materials.

Globalization and Free Markets: A Two Day Seminar

 

Mention the word, “globalization” and it’s sure to stir debate, especially when media and public misconceptions define the debate. On March 30-31, 2007, the Probasco Chair’s Center for Economic Education, in cooperation with the Nashville Branch of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank and the MTSU Center for Economic Education, presented, “Globalization and Free Markets.”

 

The two day seminar began with guest speaker Dr.
Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, research economist and assistant policy advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Dr. Quispe-Agnoli, in her speech titled, “Does Outsourcing Cost American Jobs,” defined the concept of “outsourcing,” and illustrated what theory tells us, and what the numbers tell us about outsourcing and US jobs. She then addressed the quote by N. Gregory Mankiw, Head of the Council of Economic Advisors, “Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade,” which makes it “a good thing” and how no economist disputed this observation but that the political view is “outsourcing is bad for American workers and the American economy.” Dr. Quispe-Agnoli concluded her presentation with the fact that the numbers don’t support this political view by stating that, “given the composition and structure of the U.S. economy, outsourcing has not crippled employment and production.”

 

On the second day, twenty-one teachers from across Tennessee covered key concepts from trade and the environment, to outsourcing with hands-on activities. “Globalization and Free Markets” focused on bringing the global economy directly to the classroom by presenting units from the new economic education materials: Common Sense Economics, NCEE’s Focus: Globalization, and John Stossel’s Microeconomic and Macroeconomics High School edition DVDs.

 

 

Kathy Ratte discusses the plight of the poor under capitalism and other forms of economic organization.

Kathy Ratte discusses the plight of the poor under capitalism and other forms of economic organization. 

Teachers learn how economic growth and   property rights benefit the poor.

Teachers learn how economic growth and
property rights benefit the poor.

Tri-State Teachers Examine the Question:
"Is Capitalism Good for the Poor?"

 

Teachers attended an in-service seminar on “Is Capitalism Good for the Poor?” sponsored by The Probasco Chair and The Foundation for Teaching Economics. The seminar featured nationally recognized master teachers Kathy Ratté and Ken Leonard, speaking on poverty, capitalism, economic growth, income distribution, free markets, property rights, the rule of law, and moral values. This new curriculum, funded by a grant from Sir John Templeton, was written by distinguished economists, including a Nobel Laureate, award winning curriculum writers and classroom teachers.

The objective of the seminar was to train teachers in the most important contemporary economic issues in a free market economy. The title of the seminar is intentionally provocative to stir interest. Whether the answer is yes or no depends on the particular features of a nation’s institutions and how we measure and perceive poverty.

The topics were broken into five lessons, which work together as units or individually, allowing teachers flexibility. Ms. Ratté opened with illustrations of how informative the lessons are for students, and how they focus on contemporary issues ranging from the definition of poverty and who are the poor, to the disparate value systems that still divide us today.

 

 

Teachers participating in a teacher seminar in the Gilbert Stein Instructional Suite.

Teachers participating in a teacher seminar in the Gilbert Stein Instructional Suite.

Kathy Ratté addressing teachers.

Kathy Ratté addressing teachers.

Internet Resources to Support Teaching in Economics, Business, and Social Studies

 

Chattanooga-area teachers participated in a seminar conducted by nationally recognized master teacher Kathy Ratté on “Internet Resources to Support Teaching in Economics, Business, and Social Studies.” A veteran high school economics teacher and developer of programs implementing classroom technology, Ms. Ratté was distinctly qualified to address the practical issues involved in incorporating the Internet into the classroom. Her program consisted of four major topics: “It’s Just a Tool: Learning to Teach with the Internet,” “The Web as a Library of Lessons,” “Connecting Classrooms,” and “On-line Education: Up Close and Personal.”

 

Ms. Ratté first addressed the Internet’s role in the classroom, emphasizing that it is a tool wielded by the instructor, who crafts the learning situation. For those teachers yet unfamiliar with this tool, Ms. Ratté offered two pieces of advice: one; when first incorporating technology in your classroom, wade into the pool, don’t jump off the high dive; and second expect the unexpected; the Internet is unpredictable and problems will develop.

 

 

Teachers gather at a Ted Turner Ranch to study free market environmentalism.

Teachers gather at a Ted Turner Ranch to study free market environmentalism.

Big Sky Montana and Yellowstone National Park   were the backdrops for the teacher seminar about free-market environmentalism.

Big Sky Montana and Yellowstone National Park
were the backdrops for the teacher seminar about free-market environmentalism.

Chattanooga teachers gather at Old Faithful during the seminar.

Chattanooga teachers gather at Old Faithful during the seminar.

Chattanooga Teachers Experience Free

Market Environmentalism at Yellowstone

 

The Yellowstone Region was the venue for teachers from Chattanooga and around the U.S.A. to study free market environmentalism in 1997, 1998, and 1999. The summer teachers’ institute, co-sponsored by the Probasco Chair and the Political Economy Research Center (PERC), entitled "New Approaches to Environmental Protection,” offered teachers the opportunity to learn the subject first-hand by participating in field trips and interacting with nationally recognized experts in this emerging field of economics.

 

The annual programs included presentations by award-winning educators, successful “enviro-capitalists,” the Probasco Chair, and other prominent economists. Kathy Ratté, a high school teacher from the Jefferson County District in Colorado, demonstrated hands-on activities that use mystery solving and role playing to convey information on water issues and solid waste. Dr. Daniel Benjamin, an economist from Clemson University, discussed the economics of recycling by presenting his “Top 10 Recycling Myths.” Through twenty years of research, Benjamin has found that mandatory recycling programs are, for the most part, economically inefficient – the costs of recycling outweigh the benefits and the programs consume more resources than they save.

 

Teachers then enjoyed a tour of Ted Turner’s buffalo ranch led by Russ Miller, manager of Turner’s ranch properties. Miller pointed out that, far from an endangered species, Turner’s Montana ranch supports 3,500 head of free ranging American buffalo. Since a market exists for the extremely lean meat, the herd is culled and vaccinated yearly. In addition, the ranch produces a large positive externality for Yellowstone Park, since when food is scarce in the park, the elk and bison herds cross over the mountains and onto Turner land to graze. Turner’s fish biologist, Chris Francis, also introduced participants to stream reclamation and the care of fish populations.

 

 

During the Classical Liberalism, Chattanooga area teachers visited the Jefferson Memorial.

During the Classical Liberalism, Chattanooga area teachers visited the Jefferson Memorial.

Chattanooga Teachers explore Jeffersonian ideas while visiting Monticello.

Chattanooga Teachers explore Jeffersonian ideas while visiting Monticello.

Teachers gather in front of a Jefferson statue during the Classical Liberalism seminar.

Teachers gather in front of a Jefferson statue during the Classical Liberalism seminar.

Chattanooga Teachers Experience

Classical Liberalism in 1995 and 1996

 

The Probasco Chair and Center for Economic Education sponsored a teacher seminar in Classical Liberalism for twenty Chattanooga-area teachers with the opportunity to study in a scholarly setting, and to tour locales of historic importance to America’s Classical Liberal authors. Classical Liberalism is a philosophy of conviction, and seminar participants experienced such passion through visits to The University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson’s home, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. The seminar also challenged participants own beliefs, stimulating their quest for a deeper understanding of America’s Classical Liberal tradition.

 

Ideas of classical liberalism such as private property, voluntary exchange and contract, individual liberty, and consent of the governed, establish the foundations of civil society. However, many of these ideas remain underappreciated in modern society. A true understanding of political economy requires a thorough awareness of the symbiotic relationship between free markets and free minds.

 

Liberalism enhances understanding by emphasizing the uniqueness of individuals, the desirability of personal autonomy, and the variety of human abilities and lifestyles. It champions the rights of individuals against the tyranny of the majority through limited, constitutional government and a strong belief in voluntary social coordination. In fact, classical liberals realize that the free market is the only economic system which provides for the harmonious integration of divergent value systems. Thus, they see socialism as the antithesis of the free exchange of ideas.

 

Several internationally recognized scholars presented the history and content of Classical Liberalism to seminar participants. Lewellen Rockwell, President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, discussed the legacy of the imminent Austrian Economist, Ludwig von Mises. Eddie West from Carleton University, introduced the writings of Adam Smith to participants, and discussed modern implications of Smith’s book, The Wealth of Nations. Dwight Lee explained how teachers can make economics more interesting for students by using Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged in the classroom. In addition, videos on the work of Frederick von Hayek covered such topics as the complex voluntary society, social justice, and the rule of law.

 

 

 The Economics of Diversity and Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism and diversity have received increasing public emphasis in recent years. Programs have been instituted on a nationwide level in both business and academic communities to increase awareness of and sensitivity to multicultural issues with the intent of helping minorities achieve a better intergration into these communities. The program addressed the topics: the effects of these programs, are these programs helping, do they reduce racism, and if these programs are not achieving their goals then what are the alternatives. As a result, these issues and related ones were presented at this conference.

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