The State of Economics Education-Still Lagging

As a strong advocate for entrepreneur-driven economic development, I’m also an avid supporter of entrepreneurship education.   We have reams of evidence—from groups like the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship–that youth entrepreneurship education helps kids become better students, better workers, and, of course, better entrepreneurs.  Thus, it’s a bit sobering and depressing to read the latest Survey of the States 2016  from the Council for Economic Education.   The annual CEE survey assesses state policies toward economics and personal finance education.  It finds that only 20 states now require high school students to take a class in economics, and only 17 states require coursework in personal finance.   As a related 2015 Junior Achievement study shows, the state of entrepreneurship education is even more tenuous.   At present, eighteen states require that entrepreneurship course be offered, but these are not prerequisites for graduation. (In many of these states, entrepreneurship education standards exist but are not actively promoted or deployed.)  The CEE study highlights Virginia as good example of how states might embrace personal finance education—the Commonwealth requires all high schoolers to take one full credit course in economics or personal finance.   These reports suggest that we will need to continue pushing to ensure that American high school students can get access to the economics and entrepreneurship training they need and deserve.

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