Educators “Meet the Experts” in San Francisco

What happens when you mix brilliant economic minds and keen educators? An enthusiastic day of discussion, questions, professional development, and yes – even some fun! We recently hosted 70 educators from throughout the 12th District at our head office in San Francisco for Meet the Experts (MTE), a speaker series designed to provide secondary and post-secondary educators with an opportunity to interact with leaders from throughout the Bank.

MTE brand bannerWith MTE, our objective is to highlight emerging issues in the economy and foster greater understanding about the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve. See how we strove towards that goal with the day’s agenda.  Remember to return to this blog in the following weeks as we’ll be providing tips for discussing this year’s MTE topics with your students.


Kevin Lansing presented on asset bubbles

The day started off with a dive right into economics content and a very timely topic: asset price bubbles. Kevin Lansing, Research Advisor for our Economic Research group, took the audience through a brief history of bubbles (notably the Tulip Mania bubble from 17th century Netherlands), then touched on three points that explain bubbles: forecasts based on past price movements, social dynamics and human emotion, and market structure. Kevin also discussed policy implications of lessons learned from price bubbles. His presentation slides are here.

Continue reading

Spreading our wings beyond the bald eagle: wildlife on United States currency

This post is by guest writer Andrea Abrams, who is a Senior Coordinator with the SF Fed’s Economic Education department.  Andrea leads a team of 38 staff outreach volunteers in our Los Angeles and Phoenix Branches who provide tours and personal finance workshops.  Read her full bio here.

Most students know that the bald eagle features prominently on the United States cash in their wallet. When it comes to frogs, reindeer, and bison, however, students may be in for a surprise.

Wildlife meets economics in our nation’s cash past.

Fighting frogs

Some of the earliest American notes were issued by private banks, and often contained imagery that was meaningful to the local community.  For example, the currency of Windham Bank, which was located in eastern Connecticut, featured a unique symbol that originated in local folklore.

A legend holds that one night in 1754, two local men were terrified by ferocious sounds of battle drawing near. Eager to protect their fellow residents, the two rushed home to gather reinforcements for what was presumed to be an enemy attack in association with the French and Indian War. No attackers were found, but in the morning the area was filled with thousands of bullfrogs who had apparently done battle the night before, possibly over the small amount of water in a nearby pond. This episode was immortalized in poetry and song…and on the local currency when Windham Bank issued a $5 private banknote depicting two frogs in combat.

2014.08.20 Spreading our wings beyond the bald eagle 1

Continue reading

Teacher Spotlight: Stan Herder

Our Spotlight series continues this week, where we talk with teachers who are making a difference in the field of economic education.

In today’s installment, we’re talking with Stan Herder, who teaches economics, government, and history at Hawaii Baptist Academy in sunny Honolulu, Hawaii.

Stan didn’t mention it in his responses below, but we’ll brag for him:  He was awarded the 2013-2014 Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award, which is offered by the Hawaii Veterans of Foreign Wars.  The award recognized educators who are active in citizenship education, including topics such as government and economies.

2014.08.14 Teacher Spotlight - Stan Herder 1Stan teaches economics (12th grade), government (9th grade), ancient world history (9th grade), and Hawaiian history (10th – 12th grade).

Here is what he had to say:

Continue reading

Back to School with Bite-Sized Economics

With the summer winding down we’ve turned to getting ready for the new school year, and you probably are, too.  To help get the ball rolling with your economics classes, we’ve compiled a short list of “Bite-Sized Economics” activities and discussions that can be easily integrated into the classroom.  They come from our colleagues at the Kansas City Fed (see more of their educational resources here).


Concept to teach:  Entrepreneur
One who takes a risk by producing a product or starting a new business

Bite-sized ideas:

  1. As entrepreneurs invent new products, they often make former products obsolete, or out of date and no longer used. An example of this would be the typewriter, which is now rare because of computer word processing. This concept is called “creative destruction.” Ask students to brainstorm and discuss other examples of creative destruction due to new inventions.
  2. After discussing entrepreneurship, ask students to interview an entrepreneur in their community. Interview questions could include: describing their business; explaining how they financed their venture; discussing any challenges in their business; and describing a typical work day. Share completed interviews with the class. (via)

Continue reading

Future leaders hone leadership, financial literacy, resume and interview skills at the Fed

Students talk with Adrian Rodriguez and Susan Sutherland (SF Fed Senior VP, Equal Employment Opportunity, HR, Statistics, Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, and Seattle Branch Manager)We’ve been busy at the SF Fed’s Los Angeles Branch!  On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, 96 youth from the Academy of Business Leadership (ABL) visited for sessions on mentoring, financial literacy lessons, and resume and job interview skills.

Thursday saw the arrival of 42 members from the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles for a similar experience.  Both events were designed to develop leadership skills and to encourage careers in banking, business, finance, and economics.

In his welcoming remarks to the ABL audience, Roger Replogle, SF Fed Senior Vice President and Los Angeles Branch Manager, advised the young audience: “Learn to run to the fire – that’s where you find opportunity to grow, learn, and help.  Don’t look for the easy path.  Look for the hard one.”  He shared stories of successes and failures, both personal and professional, and lessons learned.

Lise Luttgens, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, provided welcoming remarks for the Girl Scouts event and stressed that “gender is no barrier to financial literacy and independence.”

Continue reading

OECD PISA Looks at Students and Money and Asks: What’s the Level of Understanding?

The OECD PISA international assessment of financial literacy released last week reveals that around one in seven students in the 13 OECD participating countries and economies are unable to make even simple decisions about everyday spending, and only one in ten can solve complex financial tasks.

So, to answer the question posed in this post’s title: Not very high.

What was this study about?

Continue reading

Teacher Spotlight: Cheryl Shea

We are excited to launch the first post of our Spotlight series, where we’ll talk with teachers who are making a difference in the field of economic education.

Our first feature is on Cheryl Shea, who teaches high school business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, Arizona.  She is affiliated with their local community college district, so her students are able to obtain Dual Enrollment college credit.  Cheryl has also been a DECA advisor for seven years.

2014.07.09 Teacher spotlight - Cheryl Shea DECA adv of yr

Here is what she said.

Continue reading

How Do You Inspire Others to Become an Entrepreneur?

Photo credit: Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College

Photo credit: Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College

Riley Ennis, 20, is the CEO of a biotechnology startup, Immudicon LLC.  In high school, Riley worked for three years on a cancer vaccine that teaches the immune cells of the body to recognize and remove tumors. Immudicon is focused on further research and licensing the cancer vaccine platform technology.  Riley is currently a junior at Dartmouth College, where he is double majoring in economics and biomedical engineering.

We asked Riley what advice he would give to other young people who have aspirations in business.

Here’s what he said.

Continue reading

A College Degree is Worth It, But Educate Yourself on Student Loans

This post is by guest writer Laura Choi, who is a Senior Research Associate with the SF Fed’s Community Development department.  Laura researches a variety of issues aimed at improving economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income communities.  Read her full bio here.

With graduation season upon us, it’s a great time to get your students thinking about the future. There’s no question that a college degree is becoming more and more of a necessity in today’s economy. A recent Econcepts blog post highlighted new research from the SF Fed showing that a college degree is a worthwhile investment for the average student as it leads to higher lifetime earnings.

At the same time, the news is filled with stories of individuals struggling to repay their student loans, and President Obama just announced new executive actions to “lift the burden of crushing student loan debt.”

But student debt doesn’t have to be crushing or scary, and a little information can go a long way in helping students make sound financial decisions when it comes to financing higher education.

Here are a few ideas that can help your students get a better understanding of student debt.

Continue reading