Sunday, October 12, 2008
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
BILOXI, Miss. — Elementary and high schools must educate students so they can compete globally, not just locally, Mississippi Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds said Friday. He said an important part of education today includes economics.
Bounds was the keynote speaker at the National Council on Economic Education's annual conference, and he said students need to learn about the economy beginning in kindergarten.
"Economic education can't be a one-shot deal," he said. "I would consider good economic skills to be as important as any other work-force skills."
The conference drew attendees from around the U.S. and some foreign countries.
Right now students in Mississippi are required to take an economics course before they graduate from high school, but Bounds said he hopes economics will become an integral part of curriculums through elementary and high school.
Within the past couple of years the Mississippi Department of Education has partnered with the Mississippi Council on Economic Education to start more programs in schools.
Earlier this year the state began an aggressive dropout-prevention campaign to emphasize that entire communities have to help make education better, not just teachers, principals and superintendents.
He said the MCEE can be a partner in that effort.
"We've got to think very differently about how we roll out education in this state," Bounds said.
This marked the first time in 40 years the National Council on Economic Education's national conference has been held in Mississippi, said Pam Smith, MCEE director. More than 500 people attended from 24 states and several countries from South Africa, Latin America and South America.
"We're delighted with the response," she said. "I think there's a great deal of energy and learning from each other."
Tom Clark, executive director of the Gulf Coast Education Initiative Consortium, said more educators are realizing the importance of teaching economics.
"I think it's recognized as a need now," he said. "We have taken a tiny step, but the difference is there is an awareness that wasn't there before."
(c) 2008, The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.).
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