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Class Re-ZOOMed: TFAS Hosts Transformative Economics Programs for High School Students and Teachers


A view from a class session during the “Economics for Leaders” virtual program.

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) high school division has adapted its programs over the past year to continue delivering its impactful curriculum to students and teachers across the country.

Thanks to generous supporters, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE) was able to reach more than 2,300 teachers and 620 high school students online through active learning and engaging activities in 2020, despite COVID-19 restrictions. This year, TFAS will continue to offer programs both online and in person on college campuses nationwide, teaching a fusion of the importance of free-market economics and leadership development to thousands of young leaders.


The flagship Economics for Leaders (EFL) program provides young leaders with a week-long opportunity to learn about economic principles and how they relate to successful leadership skills in today’s world. The unique, interactive and fun approach provides students with the opportunity for self-reflection and engagement in a setting that will challenge and provide them with critical skills for success in college and beyond.

One student shared that the program allowed him to learn more about his leadership potential.

“Economics for Leaders was everything I could’ve imagined, and then some,” shared Saahas Gowda. “The lectures from the professors were not only insightful, but interactive and engaging as well. They taught me about the different types of leadership, and how I can use my strengths and flexibility to best meet the needs of others.”

The lectures from the professors were not only insightful, but interactive and engaging as well. They taught me about the different types of leadership, and how I can use my strengths and flexibility to best meet the needs of others.” – Saahas Gowda, Economics for Leaders participant

After transitioning the 2020 summer programs to a virtual format, TFAS staff and faculty explored a variety of mediums to ensure an interactive experience for students. Gowda, whose session was to take place at Brown University last summer, said that despite the program being moved online, he was still able to establish connections with his peers.

“The staff made great use of media platforms like Canvas, Zoom, Moblab and Pear Deck,” he shared. “Even though we couldn’t attend the program in-person, I commend them for putting together this virtual edition. I made some great connections with the other students, and I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who is interested in economics or interested in expanding their leadership potential.”

Students participate in a trading activity during a session at Southern Methodist University in 2019.

Another key program TFAS hosts each year is Economic Forces in American History (EFIAH). This interactive program teaches the economic forces behind key events in American history. Student leaders will have a detailed look at the critical role of economics in the decision-making of historical American leaders through a series of hands-on, informative sessions.

TFAS will also launch its new entrepreneurship and applied economics program for students through the Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy (EGE). This program offers young aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from experts and business executives about how to be successful in the industry. Student leaders who want to immerse themselves in practical, real-life simulations about business and entrepreneurship won’t want to miss this opportunity.

The final application deadline for all summer 2021 high school student programs is April 14, 2021.

Learn More and Apply Today


In addition to student programs, TFAS also offers several workshops and seminars to help high school teachers become more effective educators. These virtual and in-person programs cover a variety of topics including Environment and the Economy, Economics of Disasters, Economic Demise of the Soviet Union, Issues of International Trade and more.

By reaching teachers with high quality curriculum and dynamic teaching styles, TFAS gets to the source – the initial instruction — to reach thousands of young minds with economic concepts each year.

Teachers learn about issues of international trade during a seminar in New York City in May 2019.

Ranging from two hours to one week in duration, the curriculum is a unique blend of content and pedagogy, with university professors and experienced mentor teachers providing instruction. Following the workshops, teachers are equipped with interactive activity guides designed to engage students and help them internalize each lesson’s concepts.

Many teachers shared that programs such as the Environment and the Economy seminar allowed them to share real-world applications of economic concepts with their students.

“This program has challenged me to think more deeply about economic concepts and their application in the real world,” one participant said. “By taking these examples and ideas to my students, I will be able to show them how economics is relevant to their lives in ways they hadn’t yet imagined. I’ll be able to challenge their thinking and have them reason through possible solutions to real world problems using economic thinking.”

For a full list of program topics, sites, dates and deadlines, visit FTE.org/Teachers.

Learn More about Teacher Programs


In keeping with its mission of educating our nation’s future leaders, TFAS also offers an online library of exclusive lesson guides, activities and other resources for parents and teachers to share with students. All lessons are correlated to the National Voluntary Content Standards in Economics, the Common Core standards, and to each states’ standards. Through a guide of Economic Reasoning Propositions, a Lesson Plan Database, and an Economic Barometer series, students can effectively learn the “economic way of thinking” in engaging and relatable ways.

For a full guide to these resources, click here.


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