Economics and Citizen Schools: Perfect Complements

This past Spring a group of Northeastern Students won the iOme Challenge; an annual competition revolving around how states can best prepare for the retirement of the millennial generation. As a reward for their victory, they were given the opportunity to speak on a panel at the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) as well as meet with various policymakers in Washington D.C. During the WISER panel, the presentation of our paper was well received by the crowd. Most of the Q&A session debated the merits of hardship withdrawals but a few individuals were highly interested in our recommendations on Financial Literacy. During the Q&A session we were actually challenged to not let our passion stop with this competition and continue to proactively improve standards for financial literacy and communicate the importance of financial health. When we were presented with this challenge we didn’t see an immediate opportunity for us to really further our efforts. We could share our paper with local policymakers but even then, many of the decisions that would actually result in an impact seemed out of our hands.

 

A few members of the team, Emily Weis and Vincent Armentano had experience with local organizations that worked to put college students directly in touch with the Greater Boston Community. Citizen Schools manages after-school programs in seven states, with an especially active community in the Boston area, and outsources portions of the curriculum taught to members of local communities. Vincent had previous experience working with Citizen Schools. As a final project on a dialogue to South Africa, some of Vincent’s peers created an incredibly thorough curriculum using the life of Nelson Mandela as a vehicle to teach about conflict resolution. Humorously titled “The Mandelaphant in the Room” it was being taught in a William Monroe Trotter Innovation School classroom every Tuesday by Vincent and three other Northeastern students. Emily had also worked with Citizen Schools previously in the Eighth Grade Academy program. This afterschool program connected 8th grade students with a writing coach to assist in the stressful and highly competitive high school essay and application process.

 

After a brief discussion that took place while getting lost on the DC metro, Emily and Vincent realized that making use of these organizations already in place would allow us to take up that challenge, and create something awesome to share with the Boston Community. By expanding exposure to economics and financial education principles in public school curriculums, a topic discussed in the winning iOme challenge paper, they hoped to inspire the next generation of critical thinkers.


Starting this Fall an incredible group of students have decided to take on that challenge and share the insight that has been provided to them through economics to a younger generation. If you’d like to join them, they will be creating this curriculum this Fall and will be collaborating with Citizen Schools to bring it to the classroom come February! All are welcome, please contact either weis.e@husky.neu.edu or armentano.v@husky.neu.edu to get the details of the next meeting.

To learn more about Citizen Schools click here: http://www.citizenschools.org/

To see the winning iOme Challenge paper click here: http://iomechallenge.org/past-challenges/

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