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The Economic Way of Thinking: TFAS High School Programs Foster Critical Analysis and Leadership Skills


TFAS’s high school division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE), is gearing up for what’s expected to be another busy summer as more than 1,000 students and 350 teachers are anticipated to participate in programs both in-person and virtually.

Students participate in an activity called Corporate Swamp in Washington, D.C.

With a variety of program tracks to choose from, each student program will expose participants to the economic way of thinking on domestic and international issues while also teaching them the necessary skills to become effective leaders.

This summer, TFAS is excited to introduce a new high school program. Environment & the Economy (EE) is a cross-curricular program offered at the University of California, Santa Barbara that provides a unique overview of how economic principles can be used to analyze local, national and international environmental issues. Rather than the commonly adopted policy of dealing with environmental problems through the criminal code and moral approval, which can lead to an “us vs. them” atmosphere, EE participants will learn how a rational approach to environmental issues helps develop a better understanding of the complexity of these issues and how they may possibly be solved.

FTE student and teacher participants learning from one another.

All sessions are highly interactive and led by outstanding, nationally recognized professors. The program’s pedagogy combines content lectures, hands-on classroom activities, and case studies. A highlight of the program is a field trip that illuminates the challenges and solutions to specific environmental issues. This year, FTE anticipates 32 high school students and 20 teachers to participate in this program.

Teachers also have the opportunity to partake in an FTE teacher program where they can learn how to become more effective educators. This summer, FTE is providing 17 teacher training programs. Nine are multi-day in-person programs, five are one-day seminars, and three are virtual programs. The in-person programs are held across the country.

All FTE courses include lesson ideas to help instructors become more productive in the classroom. The curriculum focuses on how the principles of economic freedom have resulted in human prosperity all across the world. Whether participating in a week-long residential program, a single-day seminar, an online program, workshop or webinar, TFAS is committed to providing profound economic education.

2022 Economics for Leaders program students bonding over a leadership activity at UC Berkeley.

Building on the success of last year’s pilot program, FTE is now offering two Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy programs at Columbia and Yale universities. These programs go above and beyond what is taught in conventional pre-college entrepreneurial programs. Participants not only learn practical skills such as developing a company plan or pitching an idea, but they also learn about the economic fundamentals that enable successful entrepreneurship. Each program is intended to attract 40 students.

Additionally, the Economics for Leaders (EFL) program continues to attract students nationwide. More than 850 students will attend an EFL session this summer to learn to apply the economic way of thinking and gain a better understanding of how economic freedom has led to human prosperity across the world.

TFAS is eager to broaden the scope of its programs by providing more sites across the U.S., including UC Santa Barbara, Yale University, Columbia University and the University of Texas.

View the full list of program sites here.


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