Realizing that economics is often considered an abstract subject, not relevant or interesting to students or adults, the Foundation seeks out projects that make the subject more interesting and easily taught. The Foundation is particularly interested in promoting more teaching of economics in the nation’s schools and colleges.
Samples of this, the most important aspect of the Foundation’s work include:
National Volunteer Standards on Economics
The Foundation took a leadership role in supporting the development of the National Content Standards in Economics for the nation’s schools. A prestigious committee of economists and teachers wrote the National Standards in 1997. The Standards became the basis for new classroom materials in economics. Other contributions to the project included the AT&T Foundation, The Foundation for Teaching Economics and The National Council on Economic Education.
National Public Radio
The Foundation supported National Public Radio’s economic reporting in programs such as All Thing Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, believing that the in-depth analysis NPR brings to radio reporting is important to understanding today’s complex economic issues. The Foundation has also supported international economics reporting on NPR stations through the syndicated program, The World.
Economic and the Environment
Support for the Political Economy Research Center (PERC) underwrote the development of Economics and the Environment, a high school level set of lesson plans demonstrating how economic policies can be used to improve the environment. The lesson plans effectively leverage national interest in environmental issues to help students learn about how economic incentives can effectively produce and improve the quality of the environment.
High School Economics
To help expand the teaching of a separate high school level economics course, the Foundation underwrote the development of Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics. This set of supplemental materials and extensive teacher guide helped significantly increase the number of economics courses taught in the nation’s high schools. Following the publication of the National Content Standards in Economics, the Foundation supported the revision of the Capstone course now available through the National Council of Economic Education.
Teaching Economics in U.S. History
Recognizing that many high school students will not be required to take a course in economics, the Foundation supported the development of an extensive classroom and teacher focused set of materials that integrates economics into U.S. History courses taught in all the nation’s high schools. Teaching Economics in U.S. History, published by the National Council on Economic Education, was also revised following the publication of the National Content Standards in Economics.