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Fed Reserve chairman gives teachers advice

By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 at 9:17 pm in Education.

East Bay teachers (left to right) Thomas Renno of Campolindo High in Moraga, David Bremer of Las Lomas High in Walnut Creek, Dino Petrocco of Campolindo High and Scott Ananos of Mt. Diablo High in Concord chat with Jody Hoff, senior manager of Economic Education for the San Francisco Federal Reserve

East Bay teachers (left to right) Thomas Renno of Campolindo High in Moraga, David Bremer of Las Lomas High in Walnut Creek, Dino Petrocco of Campolindo High and Scott Ananos of Mt. Diablo High in Concord chat with Jody Hoff, senior manager of Economic Education for the San Francisco Federal Reserve


By Theresa Harrington

Many Bay Area teachers went straight to the source Thursday to get their questions answered about the economy and to find out how they could communicate important lessons regarding the recent financial meltdown and recession to their students.

The highlight of their day at the Federal Reserve office in San Francisco was a one-hour videoconference with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who stressed the need to educate students about the pitfalls of living beyond their means.

Here’s an excerpt of his comments:

“A lot of people who are in trouble today made bad decisions. They borrowed too much or they purchased a home they couldn’t afford. They borrowed too much on their credit cards.

Your efforts as teachers to help students understand the importance of financial responsibility, to help them understand what are the basics, the basics of saving and budgeting, those are critical and students need to understand that for themselves as individuals and for the country, good sound practices, good sound behavior in their own financial dealings, is really important.

I guess I would say on the personal side also, we are learning a lot of lessons about the labor market here.

Young people, as often is the case with the least experience…are the worst hit by high level of unemployment, particularly minority young people.

What does that tell us? Well, among other things, it tells us that we need to have kids who are well-trained, well-educated, who understand, who have a wide variety of basic skills in terms of thinking, writing, math, etc., so that they can adapt and change and deal with what could be a very unstable situation….we hope our economy will recover, but the world is changing quickly and the more that kids are prepared, the better they will be able to take advantage of technological change and changes in our economy, rather than being left behind.”

Tom Zientara, who teaches AP government, civics and economics at Carondelet High in Concord, said he believes his curriculum matches Bernanke’s educational goals.

“We talk about balancing a checkbook and about the perils of credit cards being issued to college students and how credit cards can get you into deep debt,” Zientara said.

Do you believe American students receive an adequate education in financial literacy?

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