Kids are smarter than critics

Published 4:33 pm Friday, July 17, 2009

OK, you Neal Boortz Kool-Aid drinkers (including those who wrote to defend your boy and couldn’t even spell his name correctly), I have a few questions for you:

1: If Andy can produce either 24 loaves of bread or eight pounds of butter in an eight-hour day, while John can produce either eight loaves of bread or eight pounds of butter, is the opportunity cost of producing one pound of butter: (a) one hour for Andy and one hour for John; (b) one-third hour for Andy and one hour for John; (c) one loaf of bread for Andy and three loaves for John; (d) three loaves of bread for Andy and one loaf for John; or (e) one-third of a loaf for Andy and one loaf for John?

2: With all other things being equal, if the economy of Europe expands rapidly and this increases tourism in the United States, which of the following will result? (a) The euro will appreciate; (b) the U.S. dollar will appreciate; (c) demand for the euro will fall; (d) demand for the dollar will fall; (e) there will be no change in demand for the dollar.

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3: If a country recorded investment spending of $3 billion, government purchases of $3 billion, consumer spending of $7 billion, imports of $5 billion, government transfers of $1 billion and exports of $2 billion, what would be their gross domestic product?

I have more questions—harder than these—but I don’t want to make your brain hurt.

Maybe your idol hasn’t told you that the State Board of Education has mandated economic education for every graduating class since 1984. Or that there are nine separate subject areas that measure a public school student’s progress toward graduation called the End of Course test given twice a year in of all the subject areas, including language arts, physical science and history, the scores in economics have shown the most progress over the past four years.

These little tidbits are courtesy of Dave Martin, executive director of the Georgia Council on Economic Education, a cooperative effort between private business and our schools that had its beginning in 1972 and is strongly supported today by many of Georgia’s major business organizations.

The Georgia Council on Economic Education knows if our state is going to continue to be a player in the international marketplace, our young people need to be prepared to compete. Unlike some radio yakkers we could name, they are actually doing something about it.

During its 37 years, the GCEE has introduced thousands of Georgia teachers to economic education through workshops and specialized programs.

One of the best is called the “Stock Market Game” and involves high school students around the state investing a hypothetical $100,000. Last year’s winners were from Oglethorpe County High in Lexington. Martin says that on the day the game was to begin, the Dow Jones Average dropped 777 points. The kids decided to buy oil futures. They made $258,537. At the same time, Oliver Elementary, in the much-maligned Clayton County School System, short-sold stocks with exposure to subprime loans and took in a cool $220,461. Not bad for “pitiful public schools,” eh?

Oh, about those questions at the top of the page: They were among a number asked in the 2009 Economics Challenge comprised of some 2,000 teams made up of 8,000 young people from over 34 states.

The winner of the national competition was Philips Academy, the prestigious private school in Andover, Mass. Third overall was Fayette County’s Starr’s Mill High School. (By the way, the answers are: 1-(d); 2-(b); 3- $11 billion.

Hopefully, when next you hear Neal Boortz say our schools don’t teach economics you will accept as fact that he is speaking from ignorance and is slandering Georgia teachers and school children (as if he cares). If you disagree, ask your hero to come out from hiding behind his microphone and let the kids at Oglethorpe County, Starr’s Mill, Oliver Elementary or just about any other “pitiful public school” in Georgia ask him some questions on economics. To show you my heart is in the right place, I’ll even furnish the Kool-Aid.