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USM financial literacy program draws attention

HATTIESBURG — A partnership between the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education (CEEE) and Lamar County schools has received some national acclaim.

Recently, the Council for Economic Education in New York City designated Lamar County schools as a national model for success. The CEEE at Southern Miss has been assisting Lamar County through teacher training and workshops in efforts to infuse economic and financial education into their K-12 curriculum.

“These results indicate the positive impacts of the Master Teacher in Economics (MTE) program and Virtual Economic CD when infused in a wider manner across schools,” said Dr. Brent Hales, CEEE director at Southern Miss. “Putting these principles to work within other contexts allows the students to learn about economics in contest with real life.”

Assessments of the initiative, which began in 2007, have indicated significant progress in students’ understanding and application of economics and personal finance. High school student results on the Test of Economic Literacy, a nationally averaged assessment, have shown one semester of infusion can improve performance on test by 30 percent.

To date, 38 Lamar County teachers have received the MTE certification. Ten of the 14 schools used the economics curriculum during the 2009-10 school year with a total of 827 economics lessons being infused in the wider curriculum. Elementary and middle school teachers taught 608 infused lessons while 219 were taught in district high schools.

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