NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Teaching Economics

January 20, 1997

The National Council on Economic Education has proposed 20 economics content standards for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The NCEE is a nonprofit partnership composed of education, business and labor representatives -- having as its goal the improvement of economic understanding.

What are these standards and how are they being received?

  • The group's guidelines are designed for voluntary adoption by schools.
  • The standards focus on basic -- some say even self-evident -- axioms.
  • The principles involve the law of supply and demand and how that determines prices, that prices are signals, that economic activity is predicated on choices among scarce inputs.

Critics say some of the exercises are worthwhile while others are too simple. They say that in trying to avoid controversy, the NCEE may have erred on the side of being too cautious. Nevertheless, they acknowledge that the organization has taken up a difficult challenge.

Source: Karen Pennar, "Economics Made Too Simple," BusinessWeek, January 20, 1997.


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