If you’ve ready ANY of my posts you’ll know how much I love talking about economics and personal finance. It is something close to my heart that makes me thankful I am in a career I’m so passionate about. The UNO Center for Economic Education is part of a larger picture to improve Nebraskans’ economic and personal finance literacy. The Nebraska Council on Economic Education is the leading resource for educators, administrators, and public officials to provide directed professional development, graduate education, workshops, classroom activities, and academic competitions to teachers and students in K-12 and post-secondary institutions.
This might sound kind of lame and boring but the Council has worked for the last 55 years to prove that economics and personal finance can be fun!
What does the Council do?
The council, led by President, Jennifer Davidson, works with k-12 educators across the state as a resource to help them improve their economic and personal finance teaching. Teachers learn new lessons, simulations, and other ways to engage their students in the classroom.
On top of the resources for teachers, the Council also hosts several student programs with some being state and national competitions. The premier student programs are:
- The Nebraska Stock Market Game—students in grades 4-12 manage a $100,000 virtual portfolio in real time over 13 weeks of investing following the actual stock market. The money may be virtual but the lesson are real and lasting.
- The Nebraska Economics Challenge—students in middle school and high school compete in an online “quiz bowl” to be one of the top 10 teams in the state. The top 10 go on to compete in the State Competition every spring at UNL or UNO for a cash prize and a chance to compete nationally.
- The Nebraska Finance Challenge—this valuable competition begins with an online round of rapid fire questions on money management, credit, income, debt, and more. The top five teams in each of three regions (Lincoln, Omaha, and Greater Nebraska) earn a berth at regionals where they will receive a detailed fictitious family scenario and have two hours to put together a financial plan to present to a panel of expert judges. The state champion team will go on to represent Nebraska at the national competition.
- Financial Literacy Concerts—yep, you read that correctly, financial literacy CONCERTS! A program where the music is cool but the message about saving and investing is even cooler (cheesy but honestly it’s true—the kids LOVE these!). The Council has brought GOODING and Carter Hulsey to play concerts at high schools and middle schools across the state. To date, we have reached 15,500 students with this unique delivery mechanism.
- In School Savings Program—this program is directed to elementary and middle school students. It’s a unique partnership with the university, financial institution, and school. A bank or credit union opens a working branch in the elementary or middle school where the students can begin a savings account. The branch tellers are other students who are learning about responsibility while taking on this leadership role in their school. Across the state the Council has worked to open 29 branches.
“Economic and financial education is one of those areas that affects every aspect of your life. If we can reach students early and teach them the costs and benefits of good financial decisions, we can change financial futures. When individuals feel more financially secure, our communities win. We are beyond grateful to be highlighted in this month’s OMB” –Jennifer Davidson, President of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education
How to make an impact for your child?
First, talk to your child(ren)’s teacher. Share the Nebraska Council on Economic Education information with them so that they can get involved and get resources for their classrooms. The Council is always looking to work with new teachers, schools, and districts.
Second, you can make a huge impact in the lives of Nebraska youth (and beyond) by making a donation. 100% of all donations go to programming and resources for teachers. Overhead and other workshop expenses are funded through other avenues including grants. This means that your donation will be able to make sure a team of 4th graders can compete in the Stock Market Challenge this year or provide a stipend so that a teacher can attend one of the workshops to improve their teaching.
Please consider donating to not only invest in the current students of Nebraska but for the future of Nebraska. People who are financially literate and understand economics make for a stronger community—a stronger Nebraska.