Center for Economic Development Frequently Asked Questions
Center for Economic Development FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is economics and economic education?
The core of economics is about seemingly unlimited wants, needs, and desires in conjunction with scarce resources, such as natural resources, labor, machines (which we call “capital”), and entrepreneurs. All societies face this relative scarcity and economics seeks to find ways to use these resources to enable societies to not only reach their potential, but expand it. The essence of economics is about scarcity. Economic education involves training teachers to develop and expand economic literacy, knowledge, and thinking skills in their students.
- Can young students learn economics?
If anyone thinks young students cannot learn some of the basic elements of economics, think again. All of us learn by experience; however, in economics, we often face considerable cognitive dissonance when we are “self-taught” by experience alone. A little bit of grade-appropriate guidance by a trained educator using effective materials can make this learning process much more productive. Visit an elementary classroom with a teacher trained in economics, even in kindergarten, and see how easily students can learn about scarcity, resources, opportunity cost, specialization and a variety of other essential concepts.
- Are teaching materials available?
The National Council on Economic Education has a variety of first-rate materials. Although many teachers and schools prefer to buy these materials from the National Council, virtually all are available to check out from the Center’s lending library. In addition, the Kansas Council on Economic Education has embarked on an extensive project to ensure Kansas teachers have access to new software which is scheduled for release soon. The Center has developed some materials for math and economics as well. Educators are not restricted to materials developed by the National or state councils; other organizations, such as the University of Missouri St. Louis Center, produce some exceptional material.
- Isn’t economics too mathematical for most students and teachers?
Although the typical advanced degree in economics has a considerable amount of mathematics involved, the Center is focused on assisting all K-12 teachers to ensure they develop a high level of comfort with the fundamental aspects of economics. Teachers and students in K-12 classrooms hardly ever report mathematics as a challenge in learning about economics.
- Are scholarships available for teachers to take economic education courses?
The Kansas Council on Economic Education continuously raises funds for teacher scholarships. These scholarships serve as an incentive. Typically, eligibility for a KCEE scholarship requires a teacher to be certified and expected to be teaching in the next academic year. Scholarships depend on available funding.