Our Education Advisory Group 2015

We’re delighted to have brought our Education Advisory Group for 2015 on board!  Twenty-two teachers from diverse personal and professional backgrounds will be with us through November, and their work will include providing feedback on content ideas, teaching activities, SF Fed economic education resources, the use of technology, and best practices related to teaching about the Federal Reserve and the U.S. economy.


17 of our 22 EAG 2015 members

The group includes five community college and seventeen high school educators from both public and private schools with 1 to 24 years of experience teaching economics (of course!), government, business, marketing, and mathematics.  There is representation from nearly all states in the 12th District.

Early last month, the EAG kicked off their work by attending a professional development conference at our Head Office in San Francisco.  The conference agenda included an in-depth discussion on the purposes and functions of the Fed, an economic outlook from Senior Outreach Economist Liz Laderman, and a tour of cash operations, the Fed Center, and our American Currency Exhibit.

The group also dove into economic education content with a feedback and brainstorming session around our soon-to-be-launched Chair the Fed game on monetary policy (currently known as The Fed Chairman Game).

All that serious learning and hard work was capped off with a lively networking reception so that everyone could get to know their fellow EAG members and the SF Fed Econ Ed staff!

Continue reading

Teacher Spotlight: Jennifer Antrim

2014.11.07 Teacher Spotlight - Jen Antrim2Our 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 Jennifer Antrim, who teaches with the Scottsdale Unified School District’s eLearning Department in Arizona.  She teaches American/Arizona government, economics, and American/Arizona history, including AP courses.

Here is what she had to say:

Continue reading

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

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

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

Teaching About Income Inequality – Three Charts and Two Tips

If you’re looking for a quick start into the issue of income inequality, our new DataPost series might just do the trick. The series uses a fairly simple comparison to define income inequality and chart that comparison over time. The full series includes: U.S. Household Incomes: A Snapshot, Median Household Incomes: Life in the Middle, and Income Inequality: Measuring the Gap.

To introduce the idea of income equality to your students, consider using the following three charts.

1.     Income Distribution

The first place to start the discussion is by taking a look at the distribution of U.S. household incomes. The chart below gives the percentage of U.S. households in each income category. At the lowest end of the distribution, 3.4% of American households earned less than $5,000 in 2012. At the highest end of the distribution, 4.5% of American households earned $200,000 or more in 2012.

There are some interesting things to note about the shape of this distribution.  First, there are more households in the lower income categories than you might expect.  In a normal distribution – think the bell shaped curve – values tend to pile up in the middle.  Here, though, there are greater concentrations at the low end of the distribution.

Continue reading

Special upcoming event! Meet the Experts, August 15

Join us in San Francisco on August 15 for an exciting and unique opportunity! 

Meet the Experts is a speaker series designed to provide secondary and post-secondary educators with an opportunity to interact with leaders from throughout the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Our objective is to foster greater understanding about the roles and responsibilities of the Fed and to highlight emerging issues in the economy.

The event is a professional development opportunity that will bolster your knowledge about economics, and you will return to your students with fresh content and new teaching ideas.  Set yourself up for success in the upcoming school year and register today.

Confirmed speakers include:

2014-05-28 MTE-lineupJohn C. Williams, President and CEO of the SF Fed.  John is an expert on monetary policy and business cycles, and is a strong advocate for economic education.

Mark A. Gould, First VP and COO at the SF Fed.  Mark is responsible for all administration, operating, and financial services activities.  He is also product director of the Federal Reserve System’s Cash Product Office.

Mary C. Daly, Senior Vice President and Associate Director of Research at the SF Fed.  Mary specializes in labor markets, public economics, and social welfare.

Kevin Lansing,  Research Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  Kevin specializes in macroeconomics, monetary economics, and asset pricing.

This event is open to high school, community college, and university educators. Students in teacher education programs are also welcome to attend. There is no fee for this event.

We are still in the planning stages of this event, and details are subject to change.  Please check back for updates.  Last year’s agenda will give you an idea of the exciting and informative content that will be included in the day.

Register now! We look forward to having you join us.