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Center for Economic Education Opens the Door to Knowledge

By Kari Johnson
UW-River Falls News Bureau

DEC. 10, 2004--What international agency has responsibility for world trade regulations including tariffs, quotas and disputes? Who is the secretary of the treasury? What does the federal reserve chairman do?

Each spring, these questions and others are asked of high school students at the Wisconsin Economic Challenge Competition held in April.

The competition is one of a number of programs developed by Wisconsin's eight Centers for Economic Education to make teaching and learning economics fun.

The study of economics is integral to all curricula, says Brian Schultz, state program director of the CEEs. "The class doesn't need to be economics or math-related. We have even introduced economics in children's literature classes," he says.

The purpose of a CEE is to provide K-12 educators with ideas on how to teach or incorporate economics in their curriculum. It gives students a working practical knowledge of economics through a variety of subjects, says Schultz, economics professor and director of the CEE at UW-River Falls.

The centers are affiliated with EconomicsWisconsin, a private nonprofit, nonpartisan organization funded by individual, corporate and foundation donors.

EconomicsWisconsin provides financial and administrative support for programs offered by the eight centers in the state. EW is affiliated with the National Council on Economic Education and its nationwide network of councils and centers.

UW-RF's CEE

The UW-River Falls CEE was established in 1999 and received re-affiliation in 2002 through the National Council on Economic Education. It works with K-12 school districts in CESAs 10-12 in western and northwestern Wisconsin.

The UW-RF center offers a number of services from workshops, in-service training, and graduate courses, to access to a well-stocked library of resources. The Resource Library in South Hall gives teachers access to an assortment of economics teaching materials including lesson plans, Advanced Placement books, and videos. There are even children's literature stories that help teach children economics. "The Resource Library provides teachers an opportunity to look through materials to get ideas for their lessons," says Schultz.

The UW-RF center offers five one-credit graduate courses offered online.each semester as well as during the summer. The courses are flexible to meet the demands of busy schedules, says Schultz, and provide teachers with opportunities to improve the quality of their courses and make economics interesting for students.

The UW-RF center also offers training for the "Stock Market Game" and access to UW-RF economics professors as classroom speakers and information specialists.

Other CEES Around the State

UW-RF is one of the eight Centers for Economic Education in Wisconsin. The other centers are located at Edgewood College, Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, St. Norbert College, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater.

Another popular offering is a stock market simulation game named STOCK-TRAK. Student teams learn about business and the economy while managing hypothetical $100,000 investment portfolios for three months. This game is available to all schools in Wisconsin. To use the game, teachers must attend a free training workshop, where they learn how to play the game, use the curriculum materials and understand the economics of the securities markets. Advance registration for the workshops is necessary and the workshop is also offered online. In addition, the centers also offer a new stock market simulation game, introduced this year, in which students invest $1 million over a seven-month period.

The centers organize the annual Economics Challenge held the first week in April. In the competition, students answer questions on micro, macro, and international trade economics as well as on current events and economic policy applications. Teachers can register up to two teams per school with four students per team. There are two divisions teams can be entered in, general high school economics or the AP/honors division. There is no registration fee.

For more information about the Centers for Economic Education, contact Schultz at brian.l.schultz@uwrf.edu or visit www.economicswisconsin.org.

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Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:18 Central Daylight Time

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