Many of our books, including this season’s The Can Man deal with economic concepts. We asked Yana V. Rodgers, a professor at Rutgers and head of the Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children, to talk about why and how to teach economics in today’s busy classrooms.
Building Blocks for the Future
Decades of research in economics, education, and early-childhood development have shown that young children enter the primary grades with an experience-based knowledge of economics and that they are quite capable of learning basic economics during the primary grades. The economic lessons that young students learn in their early education form the building blocks toward achieving a solid understanding of economics at higher levels of educational attainment. Students in the primary grades are already gaining a rich exposure to a wide variety of ideas in economics, and they are gaining the skills to apply this new knowledge. The principles taught at a level appropriate for primary-grade students are crucial for a basic understanding of the economic world around them.
Educational reforms since the 1960s have led to the development of formal content standards in economics and the infusion of economics as a central component of social studies curricula in every grade level. Because of the standards movement, even elementary school teachers face considerable pressure to teach economic content that is based on state requirements and is often linked to school accreditation and funding. Increasingly crowded curricula are a common issue, and many teachers feel they are too busy to teach economics. As almost all states have added economics to their state-mandated curricula in the primary grades, teaching strategies have needed to change.
In response to a growing interest in foreign language books from parents and kids alike, Amazon.com announced an update to their digital reader—the Kindle—that would allow three new languages into their growing digital library. In a February 19th announcement, Amazon unveiled an update to the Kindle text platform, allowing Spanish, Portuguese and Italian authors to upload and sell digital versions of their books over the internet.
A CNN report looks at the success of Asian American students in high school:
There are a few good things it brings up, in addition to looking at nurture (culture, parental influence) instead of just nature (genetics, biology), like the fact that test-taking and intelligence aren’t perfectly correlated. Perhaps most importantly, it points out the vast diversity with the group we call “Asian American”; Asia is huge, and Asian Americans come from a variety of cultures with their own expectations, priorities, and assumptions. It’s a helpful reminder that labels tell part of the story but never the whole story.
I’m still not going to eat salad on Thanksgiving, but we can give thanks for the great Salad Bowl of America, imperfect though it is.
And whence comes that great quote, you ask? From this great City Room post on a unique new college education program in a Connecticut prison. Selected for their essays and academic potential, these incarcerated students take classes from Wesleyan University professors, using the same syllabi and the same standards of grading as are used on Wesleyan’s campus. The classes are the same, but the students bring a much different perspective: a view from inside a justice system with, among other things, much higher rates of incarceration for Blacks and Latinos than for whites.
The theme of the week is back to school. When we acquired, Armando and the Blue Tarp School in 2006, it was one of those moments when you are simply in awe of certain individuals and the good work they do in the world.
It’s Back to School week on the blog and we’re talking about W. Nikola-Lisa’s My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone!, which is giving me all sorts of flashbacks to that last day of school when you got your report card and on the bottom, all hidden away by the signature lines and stuff, were a few words that would pretty much define your quality of life for the next year: the name of your next teacher.