Celebrating National Economic Education Month

Richard Garland
October 27, 2021

As the nation pushes forward with financial literacy as a graduation requirement in at least public secondary schools, state by state, the study of economics is next in line to be a strong candidate for all young students to become literate in…and with that – so should the general public. On the personal wealth side of the equation, financial literacy puts you in control of your asset management, while economic literacy helps you understand how societal and global affairs affect your individual income over time. With October being National Economic Education awareness month, I wanted to share a few reasons why economic education needs to be a priority for today’s students:

  • Career Opportunities – Economists and Econometricians are greatly needed in many areas of the job market — investment banks, brokerage houses, real estate companies, and other private sector businesses and public sector organizations. Expertise is essential in advising Presidents and Congress on economic issues, formulating policies at the Federal Reserve Bank, as an example, even working with international organizations such as the World Bank. Think of all the diverse career opportunities!
  • Creating An Investment Strategy for Your Personal Wealth – Yes, the state of the economy impacts your financial portfolio and should factor into the decisions you make when investing for growth or sustainability of that portfolio. After all, Economics is the study of how society uses its limited resources…land (earth), air, water, capital and deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The enterprises we invest in, government and business, are all affected by the outcome of these decisions.
  • As a Business Professional – Employed Leader or Owner – To understand economic conditions and the decision-making behaviors of your stakeholders – internal and external – that will influence your sustainability and growth in market share – within and beyond borders.

As a high school teacher for a NAF Academy of Finance, economic education is embedded into both my personal finance and global business and economics courses. The global business course is a combination of NAF’s Business in a Global Economy, and Business Economics courses, plus assets from Dr. Michael Peng, Jindal Chair of Global Business Strategy at the Jindal School of Business Management, University of Texas at Dallas, and my own experiences from my career at IBM working on global projects which took me around the world – often in emerging economic regions. In my personal finance class, we focus on understanding the economy and economics, as a necessity that should aid in investment decisions. In global business, students must be able to acquire knowledge and expertise in addressing the following to be a business leader in the world of multinational enterprise:    

  • What importance does the growth of foreign economies play in the prosperity of the home base nations of multinationals?
  • What key economic measurements and terms must business leaders understand, given the difference in living standards, purchasing power, resources, and capabilities maturity?
  • How does globalization affect economies and how are the principles of economics applied to help make pricing and production business decisions and international investment decisions?
  • Are the economic decision elements used by businesses in the act of globalizing, namely, scarcity, supply and demand, utility, diminishing returns, and factors of production, affected differently given comparative advantages (unique resource and capabilities) of foreign nations? 

Here’s a valuable way to think about the necessity of literacy in both finance (i.e. personal finance) and economics: With literacy in the financials, you understand how a household or a business works. With literacy in economics, you’ll understand how the world works.

Looking for more ways to embed economic education into your classroom? Visit https://econedlink.org/. and join the conversation on Twitter using #EconEdMonth to share your experiences with economic education.

NAF network members can also check out NAF’s new Intro to Economics course and updated Business in a Global Economy and Business Economics courses on Future Ready Learning.

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Rich Garland is a teacher of business, finance, and economics at North Kingstown Senior High School and the school's NAF accredited Academy of Finance in North Kingstown, RI. He is a retired executive from IBM Global Services and views his thirty-two years in the private sector, as preparation for his current career as an educator -- preparing the next generation of leaders for a better world ahead.