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May 10, 2011

Partnership Helps Students Expand Knowledge of Economics

Each year, Charleston County School District (CCSD) students build their understanding of economic principles and develop a strong appreciation for the American free enterprise system by participating in the SC Stock Market Games and the SC Young Stock Market WinnersEntrepreneurs programs. These opportunities are made possible due to the work of SC Economics, a non-profit business-education partnership established in 1975 that is dedicated to providing teachers with continuing education in economics and personal finance.

The mission of SC Economics is to help South Carolina’s young people learn to think, choose, and function successfully in a changing and challenging global economy. The council believes that the most effective way to make a difference in the lives of young people is by teaching teachers how to make economic and personal financial decision-making skills come alive in the classroom, and to equip those teachers with excellent standards-based materials. SC Economics leverages the state’s intellectual resources through partnerships with university-based Centers for Economic Education. The Center directors, experienced economists with a passion for teaching economics and working with K-12 educators, provide in-service training and graduate courses. Two of the organization’s most effective programs are the SC Stock Market Game and the SC Young Entrepreneurs.

Across the state, over 850 student teams in grades 4-12 participated in the 2010-11 SC Stock Market Game in which teams are given $100,000 of hypothetical money to invest in Stock Market Winnersany publicly traded company on the three U.S. stock exchanges. During a ten-week period in the fall and spring, teams research the companies, learn what it means to buy on margin, and do all of their trading online. They pay normal brokerage commissions and can use a margin account if they wish. Student teams compete against each other and the S&P 500.

Wando High School economics teacher Ray McGrath and his students have consistently done well in the state-wide competition.  This year, the Wando teams swept the state taking the top five awards. Asked why he thought the program was an effective teaching tool, McGrath responded, “I feel the Stock Market Game prepares my students for the next level. Today when you enter the workforce you need to make investment decisions about your 401(k) on day one. The Stock Market Game Stock market winnersgives students the experience to handle that role responsibly.”

Elyse Delgado, a senior at West Ashley High School, was awarded the SC Young Entrepreneur Award for her project in which she developed, published and sold Wildcat Cookbooks.  She donated the full profit to the West Ashley High School Food Bank, an organization created to help students in need of clothes, food or school supplies.

The educational partnership and support that CCSD has received from SC Economics continues to make a tremendous impact on the capacity of our Charleston County students to become productive citizens and wise economic stewards.

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