TC’s Understanding Fiscal Responsibility curriculum is launched

On May 2, 2012, Teachers College hosted the launch of a new high school curriculum on Understanding Fiscal Responsibility. The event created a platform for conversation among leading policy analysts, educators, and economists on how to engage students in the nation’s fiscal challenges. The curriculum, created by TC faculty and students, is designed to explore issues around the federal budget and national debt.

Dr. Anand Marri, Professor of Social Studies and Education at TC, is the project leader and principal investigator of the Understanding Fiscal Responsibility project. He hopes the launch will create an awareness for educators across the country of not only the existence of this new curriculum, but of the importance of teaching kids about these issues.

Often times, Dr. Marri explains, there is a division between teaching about economics and teaching social studies, one that he feels should be broken down. “I think what happens with a lot of work in public policy and economics education is people think it’s just for economists or for people who are not necessarily interested in what happens in social studies and civics classrooms. We want to say that it is connected, that to be a civically engaged citizen you should have economic literacy.”

The launch brought together a number of special guests, including Peter Orszag, Vice Chairman of Global Banking at Citigroup and former Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama Administration, and Peter G. Peterson, whose foundation is responsible for the three-year $2.45 million grant that is making the development and distribution of this curriculum possible.

Additionally, Kathryn Swallow, a teacher who has piloted the curriculum at the Community School for Social Justice in the South Bronx, shared how she has integrated math to teach about tax rates in her social studies classroom and how it has impacted her students.

Dr. Marri asserts that implementing fiscal education into the high school curriculum is critical. “Some people will say, ‘Oh, the kids shouldn’t learn about this,’ but we’re saying, ‘Why shouldn’t kids learn about the federal budget? It affects their lives.’”

The first ten lessons of the curriculum are now available on the Understanding Fiscal Responsibility website and more will continuously be posted. After registering on the site for free, all resources are free and ready to use.

Visit the Understanding Fiscal Responsibility website.