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Virtual Programs Reach High School Teachers at Home with Timely Economic Lessons on COVID-19


Even though much of the world has come to a screeching halt, the wheels of economics continue to turn, impacting our everyday lives. With this in mind, TFAS has met an increased demand for remote learning and information about COVID-19 by offering online teacher programs that examine the crisis and response through the lens of economic reasoning.

More than 250 tuned in to the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE)’s webinar for teachers on the economic implications of COVID-19, and increased demand has caused us to double the number of online programs available for high school teachers this year.

The Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE) is the high school programming division of TFAS. For more than 45 years, FTE programs have introduced young people to the economic way of thinking. With extensive experience in online courses and virtual resources for teachers, our team is uniquely qualified to offer engaging and innovative programming through proven online learning platforms.

Increased Demand for Online Teacher Courses

FTE is now accepting applicants for our online “Economics of Disasters” course to train teachers to examine a variety of natural disasters – from the Black Death of the Middle Ages, to Hurricane Katrina, as well as the recent SARS and COVID-19 pandemics – through the lens of economic analysis.

FTE’s “Economics of Disasters” online course will help high school educators teach their students to understand how governments, markets and people respond to disasters. Learn more here.

“We want to help teachers explain the situation and the impact of responses to their students through economic concepts – such as incentives, scarcity and supply shock – and not necessarily through the narratives often popularized by the news media or politicians,” said Ted Tucker, executive director for FTE.

Depending on the disaster, Tucker said the course looks at whether states can expect a rebound of economic growth and strives to answer questions of what private markets, governments and individuals can do in times of disaster.

The online program is one that FTE has run before, the last time in January of this year, but the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and growing interest from teachers in online programming persuaded FTE to add an additional session sooner than expected.

Teachers during seminar
Teachers negotiate a trade of Dum Dums lollipops during a seminar on international trade. Whether trained in-person or online, FTE teachers bring these lessons back to their classrooms where they impact an estimated 200,000 or more students annually.

Teacher programs are an essential component of FTE, helping teachers of economics become more effective and engaging educators. FTE-trained teachers impact an estimated 200,000 or more students annually.

Due to increased demand, FTE has already doubled the number of online programs for high school teachers over the previous year. Other upcoming online courses this summer include “Economic Demise of the Soviet Union” and “Economics Online for Teachers, Part 2.”

Teachers participate in the online programs in an asynchronous, but paced format. The online courses for teachers are accredited for graduate-level credit through a partnership with the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Learn more here.

Free Economic Lessons Webinars for Teachers

Professor Price Fishback will join FTE for a free webinar on Economic Freedom and Pandemics in American History. Learn more here.

The COVID-19 Economic Implications and Policy Response” webinar featuring Dr. Scott Baier on April 29 was a resounding success with more than 95% of participating teachers indicating that the program material improved their ability to teach students about the current COVID-19 disaster. “Professor Baier was well prepared. The visuals in the presentation helped to support the points he was making. I greatly appreciate the application of the economics to this crisis vs. the political,” said one participant. “Thank you so much. I actually clapped at the end.”

FTE will host its second webinar on Wednesday, May 13 with Professor Price V. Fishback on “Economic Freedom and Pandemics in American History.” Dr. Fishback is an economics instructor for FTE programs as well as the Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics at the University of Arizona and research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. You can learn more and register here.

FTE programs train high school teachers to use relateable examples and current events in their lessons to demonstrate how economics is part of our every day lives.

In addition to the programming for teachers, Tucker says FTE will incorporate COVID-19 related lessons into all of the programs offered to students and teachers this summer. FTE typically hosts approximately 20 in-person programs for high school students and five or more in-person programs for high school teachers on college campuses across the U.S. each summer.

Due to COVID-19 related closures and regulations on host campuses, FTE has moved some of these programs online, ensuring that students’ learning and development are not disrupted. Despite the move to remote learning, interest has maintained strong with more than 500 students enrolled at this time. For the latest information on programs, including how to apply, use the links below.

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the traditional high school classroom, TFAS and our FTE programs will remain open and ready to meet the demand.


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