Economic Literacy Action Steps

After a full day of discussion, each representative sector at the Economic Literacy Symposium was asked to focus on just one or two action steps that address economic literacy in terms of their professions and the general public. Following are those recommendations:

1. How can we improve economic literacy within our profession?


Media

  • Improve the training and knowledge of economics among the journalists themselves (fellowships to improve skills, etc.).
  • Take steps to foster an interest in economic reporting among the major professional organizations for both print and television media.

Business and Finance

  • Eliminate jargon.
  • Build the business case for employers to provide better economic education to their employees.

Educators

  • See that economics is taught by advocating educational policy (including, but not restricted to, legislation) that promotes economic education, starting with a required economics course. Other possible measures include state testing, content standards and structured incentives.
  • See that economics is taught well by investing in teacher education, both preservice and in-service. Such professional development must have a strong content base and help teachers become more skilled at pedagogy.

Academics

  • The academics lightheartedly reported that they could not agree how to define their profession, so they thought it impossible to answer the question.

Consumer and Labor

  • Adult education.

Government

  • Provide an independent and unbiased method of obtaining economic information for officials. Use internet resources.
  • Implement an ongoing, long-term program of educating officials. Be more proactive than reactive, turn to local colleges and universities for assistance.

2. How can our profession improve the economic literacy of the public, particularly our constituents?


Media

  • Target editors and publishers to devote more resources to economic reporting and to display economic stories in line with their true importance.
  • Focus on the quality of teaching of economics topics in the major journalism schools.

Business and Finance

  • Provide financial support to economic education organizations.
  • Be advocates for economic education.

Educators

  • Advocate a stand-alone economics curriculum, with high-stakes testing controlling exit at various levels.
  • Within the economics curriculum, focus on developing materials and activities that emphasize real-life applications through role-playing, case studies, personal experience and synthesis of the concept.

Academics

  • Require economics course for Social Studies licensure at secondary level teaching.
  • Strengthen the principles course by adopting new institutional arrangements, including dedicated resources.

Consumer and Labor

  • Education needs to be placed in context of the learner.
  • Relate economic literacy to the issues.

Government

  • Outreach and advocacy at the high school level. Expand programs such as the Economics Challenge.
  • Integrate economics into all school subjects, and into the news and television.
 
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