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CSUB Works to promote Economic Literacy
  March 15, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456,,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138,

California State University, Bakersfield professors are teaming up with Kern County educators to improve economic literacy in local high schools. Thirty Kern County high school social studies teachers will participate in a two-day workshop designed to help their students develop better economic skills on Thursday and Friday, March 23-24 on the CSUB campus.

The workshop is part of a competitive national grant awarded to CSUB's Center for Economic Education and Research (CEER), housed in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences' economics department. The grant is from the National Council on Economic Education and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement. It is a part of the nationwide Excellence in Economic Education Program, whose mandate is to promote economic education and literacy throughout the United States.

The eventual national costs can be staggering each year that greater and greater numbers of students graduate from high school without a foundation in economic and financial literacy. "The teaching of economics is not universally mandated curriculum in our schools," said Margaret Malixi, CSUB economics professor. "Efforts like this upgrade and encourage the teaching of economics in our schools."

Officials report record numbers of bankruptcies, high unemployment in regions like Kern County, increased poverty and other costly consequences of economic illiteracy are indicative of the need for early and consistent economic education. "The National Council on Economic Education conducted surveys on young adults and found that what they should know about economics and what they do know are very different," Malixi said.

The idea behind this pilot program is to make economics relatable to high school students. "Economics is the study of what people do and the choices they make," said Aaron Hegde, CSUB economics professor. "It is not just about money." The workshop format is designed to be highly interactive, combining lecture, discussions, computer simulations, case study analysis, and lesson plan construction and simulation.

Workshop topics include: the economic way of thinking, financial planning basics, economic fundamentals, financial markets, spending and credit, investing, insurance, taxation, and mortgage analysis, among others. "We'll look at life choices like, should you buy a house or rent? We'll talk about job searches and retirement," he added. Malixi continued, "We'll discuss how each decision has a cost. The approach is to present the practical applications of the economic way of thinking and then to introduce the theory and the technical terms."

CEER plans to seek additional funding for future training to include more of Kern County's teachers.

The event is entirely free for participants and includes the cost of texts, materials, and all meals and refreshments. The "Lifeconomics and Financial Fitness For Life: A Continuing Education Workshop For Teachers" will be held in the Walter Stiern Library computer labs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For additional information, contact Malixi at (661) 654-2464 or Hegde at (661) 654-2495.