Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Council Honors Elementary Teacher Economic Projects

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Council Honors Elementary Teacher Economic Projects

Article excerpt

Economic concepts can be hard to grasp and difficult to teach, but some Oklahoma teachers are succeeding in getting the message to their students.

Four Oklahoma City area elementary teachers are among the finalists for the 19th annual Lynda Wimmer Dollars for Teachers Awards to be presented Thursday by the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education.

The council is honoring state teachers who have creatively integrated economic concepts into their instruction.

The group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization formed in 1954 to enhance the quality and quantity of economics instruction in Oklahoma schools. It provides teacher training, distributes curriculum guides and coordinates four centers for economic education at area colleges.

First place winners receive $1,000 cash prizes, which go directly to the teachers themselves. One of the two winners last year went to a teacher in a learning disability class whose students wrote, produced and sold a book on Oklahoma legends such as Will Rogers and Sequoyah. The other winner integrated economics and environmental issues.

Three Moore teachers were selected as finalists for their "Growing Money" project, in which elementary students produced and sold their own greeting cards. The teachers involved are Gail Steelman, Lynnda Newby and Kristy Ehlers.

An El Reno teacher, Wilma Goodman, was chosen as a finalist for her "Settling Jamestown" project, in which her students simulated all aspects of the Jamestown colony. The children husked corn, ground it into meal, erected tents, chose leaders and so forth.

Dawn Duca, president of the council, said a Tulsa elementary teacher, Emily Wood, was presented a fourth place national award at the White House in September for her "Exploring Economics All Year Long." Tulsa was the host of a sister cities conference, and Wood's students studied about other countries, their monetary system, exchange rates, food and other customs. Foreign visitors to Tulsa also addressed the school.

A reception before the Thursday awards dinner will feature displays of teacher entries. The reception is at 5:15 p.m. at Liberty Bank and Trust Co. of Oklahoma City NA, 100 N. Broadway, and will be followed by the dinner at the Petroleum Club at 6:30 p.m.

The keynote speaker for the event is Timothy C. Forbes, vice president and director of Forbes Inc. and president of American Heritage, a division of Forbes Inc. that publishes American Heritage Magazine, American Heritage of Invention Technology and books on American history.

Duca said Forbes is the first national speaker featured at the dinner. His topic is "Today's Economy: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?"

Forbes has been an independent film producer and screenwriter, and his economic history, "Some Call It Greed," won several awards.

Duca said a national survey done last month showed the need for better economic education. The Gallup poll of adults and students in high school and college showed a misunderstanding of three often-discussed economics concepts: deficit, unemployment and inflation.

Only half those surveyed could define a budget deficit, even though the nation's deficit has been a prominent campaign issue. Only one in four people could correctly state the size of the federal deficit _ about $400 billion for federal fiscal year 1992.

Respondents cited unemployment as a great concern, but most thought the national rate was 14 percent, twice what it actually was at the time the survey was taken. Only one in 10 could give the correct rate of inflation _ 3 percent.

The survey also revealed that barely more than a third, 36 percent, understood the purpose of profit in an economy. On the positive side, about two-thirds understood that productivity is the key to increasing wages and that prices are controlled by supply and demand rather than government. …

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