Which brings to mind a good question — why not require the entire country to take an introductory economics course? If everyone had to learn a little basic, non-calculus economics it seems to me that that would be a very worthwhile investment.
I agree- it would be great. Except the NEA would probably never allow it.
1.) No one will be able to agree what to teach in the course. Economics is just as politicized as everything else these days. I am sure Matt remembers the Truman quip:
“GIVE me a one-handed economist. All my economists say, ‘on the one hand…on the other.'”
2.) If there is going to be a national requirement for an introductory economics course, there will be the need to test the results of that course. This alone is enough to make the NEA oppose it, let alone the other issues that will arise. In between the wails that ‘We aren’t teaching the children to learn, but we are teaching to the test,’ claims that the test was racist or Euro-centric would arise, etc.
3.) What would you do if people failed the test?
4.) Can basic economic principles be taught to people in schools dominated with students who can not perform fundamental math or read at a 3rd grade level?
I think one of the problems with people like Matt is that he has had too good of an education- the Dalton School, Harvard. I am certain that if he is not already applying, in a few years he will be applying to and will be accepted to a prestigious graduate school to further his studies. And because he is that intelligent and will be that fortunate, he will never truly fathom what goes on in education departments around the country. He will never truly grasp the institutional inertia i public schools, never truly understand the NEA, never understand the built-in obstacles that impede ANY change in schools.
Having said all that, it still is a worthy goal.