We all know the importance of educating our kids on sound economic principles. Understanding the basics at an early age will pay lifelong dividends in terms of managing finances, operating on a budget, working or owning a business, entrepreneurship, and other fundamentals that are the key to a successful life.
Through a variety of programs, the Mississippi Council on Economic Education is working to make a difference in the lives of Mississippi’s kids.
I was able to see one great program at work in a recent visit to Germantown Middle School.
The event was called “Germantown Junction,” and in brief, it was the creation of a “town within the school” where students created businesses, sold their products and services, and learned the basics of what it takes to manage a business successfully.
Organized by Deborah Morali, who earned the Master Teacher of Economics certification through the MCEE, the event was a winner for the kids—and the school.
“The goal for each business is to generate a profit that can cover the costs of our teams attending the Future Problem Solving Affiliate Bowl which will be held in Columbus in March,” she said. “Our purpose, of course, is to reinforce financial literacy, and basic economic principles, including supply and demand, marketing, advertising, profit and loss, and much more.”
Deb had over 65 students participating in running the businesses that were set up at “Germantown Junction,” and when I visited, it sounded somewhat like the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. It would be an understatement to say that the kids were enthusiastic, and they were clearly having fun in this learning experience.
Deb, who grew up in Carthage, clearly has a passion for economic education, and considers it “vital to the future of Mississippi.” She was the MCEE Teacher of the Year in 2013, and she’s proud of what her students accomplished at the event.
“Our principal, Chris Perritt, has been very supportive through this process,” she said. “And we do appreciate that support.”
I spoke with Chris briefly, and he indicated that he is “very pleased with what these kids are learning. “They’ve worked really hard to make this a success, and they’ve done a great job marketing it throughout our school.”
What about the kids? Those with whom I chatted, including Joe Farmer, Maggie Robinson, and Isabel Stoker, agreed that they have learned a great deal through the experience of setting up and managing their businesses. They also conceded that “it’s a lot of work” and they have a much “better appreciation” now of what it takes to run a business. But they also agreed that the experience was a “lot of fun.”
I also talked briefly with Sherribeth Farmer, incoming Chairwoman of the MCEE, who was working as a volunteer at the event.
“It’s just so important to provide the right kind of economic education at an early age,” she said. “This is the kind of education that will have lasting benefits for these kids. And I really appreciate teachers such as Deb Morali who work hard to deliver sound economic education.”
From this and other events I’ve attended, I can say that if what I see is any indication, we’re training up some bright new entrepreneurs, CEO’s, managers, and businesspeople who are going to make major contributions to the future of Mississippi.
You can see video from the event at MSBusiness.com.
» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1021.