Author(s): Anne Macy, Jean Walker
Money, credit, interest rates, and inflation are concepts basic to any financial decision. While high school teachers recognize the importance of financial economics, actual instruction in the area is lacking. The subject matter is considered uninteresting and the teachers may be ill prepared to teach it. The ideas can be presented in a non-threatening manner by incorporating financial economic concepts into a historical and political framework.
This paper presents ideas for integrating these financial concepts into a time period typically short-changed in the high school curriculum, 1890-1915, but which is a fertile time for financial markets. Using Hugh Rockoff’s 1990 article “The ‘Wizard of Oz’ as a Monetary Allegory,” the debate over the free coinage of silver, and the creation of the Federal Reserve System, the concepts can be engagingly presented to the students. The lesson stresses critical thinking in an outcome-based format. Materials incorporated are from the National Council on Economic Education, the Federal Reserve System, and the Internet.