Economic policy decisions affect everybody every day, but students’ ability to understand these policies and the forces that led to them is decreasing. To address this need, the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s economic education staff created the Econ Lowdown, a series of economic and financial courses aimed at teachers and students K-16.
In addition to enhancing understanding about the role the Fed plays, the curriculum and materials were designed to build fundamental economic education and financial literacy. Materials for the courses included videos, podcasts, online courses, lesson plans, interactive whiteboard applications, conferences, and websites, all accessible at no cost through the Fed’s education website. Among the innovative set of resources were glossary flash cards, the Piggy Bank Primer Saving and Budgeting Workbook, and an entreprenuer speaker series. The Fed also provided online professional development for teachers along with face-to-face development opportunities. The Fed also opened the Inside the Economy Museum to support its education efforts, providing additional opportunities for interaction with students and teachers, and expanding the potential to reach additional audiences with its nearly 100 displays, games, sculptures, and videos.
The education effort has reached some 1.1 million students, and the museum has attracted more than 4,000 visitors. To cap off this impressive program, the Fed developed a Student Board of Directors with 12 members from local high schools serving as liaisons between St. Louis-area schools and the Fed, meeting regularly to discuss economic and personal finance issues, hear speakers, and compete for summer internships at the Bank.
For their innovative and comprehensive approaches to expanding economic and financial literacy, we are proud to award the prize for Best Education/Scholarship Program in PR Daily’s 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards to participating staff from the St. Louis Fed, including Research, Economic Education, Public Affairs, and the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.
Visit Ragan.com/Awards to learn more about awards opportunities.