Over the years, economics has been perceived as a complicated and difficult subject that is beyond the abilities and attention spans of most K-12th graders. It is also thought to be a tedious and even boring subject as it is often referred to as the "dismal science" due to its perceived reliance on statistical tables, charts and graphs. It was a subject that was usually not taught to high school students let alone those in middle or elementary schools. While college students often took an introductory economics course as part of their general education or breadth requirements, there were still many specialized majors where economics was never studied at all.
Survey results of adults in the United States show a surprising lack of understanding of basic economics concepts. Especially disturbing is the general population's ignorance of basic supply and demand forces, how our government's economic policies influence business activity and our level of prosperity, and how our global economy operates. Recognizing that economics literacy is essential for an informed citizenry in a democratic society, educators and business professionals began lobbying to include the study of economics as part of California's secondary school curriculum. In 1985 this effort was successful with the California Legislature passing the Economics Mandate. This legislation called for all high school students to complete a one-semester course in economics as a requirement for graduation. Although, educators welcomed this requirement statewide, many schools were not prepared to offer the class, as they had no experience with the subject matter and there were very few trained faculty members. Most high schools placed the newly mandated economics class into their 12th grade curriculum and assigned any available or interested instructors as teachers. Generally speaking, these first time economics instructors had little formal training in the subject, only vaguely exposed to it due to their college backgrounds (frequently only one course in the social sciences or home economics). Often, there was only a single, newly christened economics teacher per school, which ruled out collaboration and "team teaching" approaches. Where were these teachers to go for help?
Two California high school economics teachers, Donna McCreadie and Sue Weaver, recognized the need to provide infrastructure and support to help the state's fledgling economics teachers. They also wanted to promote the teaching of economics at every grade level, including kindergarten. Donna and Sue knew that teaching economics could be both exciting and relevant. The biggest challenge facing them was how to develop meaningful lessons so that their students would understand the impact of economics on themselves and those around them. Recognizing the challenge and need is one step, but these two dynamic professionals went a step further and founded the CASET organization with the mission, "To help California teachers improve and expand their students' economic literacy." They envisioned an organization that would help teachers be more effective in their classrooms.
Donna and Sue approached Dr. Jim Charkins, Professor of Economics at California State University, San Bernardino and the Executive Director of the California Council on Economic Education - CCEE - for advice. (The CCEE is a consortium of business, political, and higher education leaders involved in promoting economics literacy through curriculum development, legislative actions, and fundraising.) Jim became a mentor and cheer-leader for CASET and not only helped the new organization get off the ground, but aided its growth and evolution into the organization it is today.
The California Association of School Economics Teachers (CASET) is an organization of educators promoting the effective teaching of economic principles in grades K-12.
Jim Charkins, Ph.D
Jim has served as economics consultant to the California Commission for the Establishment of Academic Content and Performance Standards (1996-1998), served on the ten member writing team for K-12 national economics standards, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Content Review Panel for History/Social Sciences, the Review Committee for the National Standards for Business Education, the commission that recommended revisions to the History/Social Sciences Framework to the California State Board of Education, as one of 3 economists authoring the economics section of the national College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for the Social Studies State Standards, and reviewer for the National Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy 3rd edition of the National Standards. Serves on the boards for CASET (California Association of School Economics Teachers), the California Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, and the Advisory Board for Visa Financial Education. He currently advises the San Bernardino City Unified School District, infusing personal finance into the high school curriculum.
He has recieved numberous award and recognitions including CSU San Bernardino 2003 Social and Behavioral Sciences Teacher of the Year, CSU San Bernardino 2009 Outstanding Originator of Distributed Learning, Council for Economic Education/National Association of Economics Educators 2011 Bessie Moore Service Award, California Council for the Social Studies 2012 Hilda Taba Award and the Council on Economic Education’s 2013 Adam Smith Award.
Brian teaches AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, and AP Statistics at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, his alma mater. In the past, he has also taught World History and Human Geography. For ten years he has served at the AP Reading in Macroeconomics, and more recently, as a Table Leader and Question Leader; in 2014, he joined its Test Development Committee. He is a board member for the California Association of School Economics Teachers, CASET, and has presented at their annual conference, including at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank. His “Students Teaching Students” economics service program has been featured on NPR’s Marketplace Money, the Los Angeles Times, and the Epoch Times (a Mandarin newspaper). He was recognized with the Teacher of the Year Award from the California Council on Economic Education (CCEE) in 2010 and also from the National Council on Economic Education (CEE) in 2015. His students won CCEE’s Capital Markets Contest in 2007. Outside of the classroom, he has been the boys’ Head Varsity Tennis Coach for 8 years, and previously a soccer and track and field assistant coach. He holds a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Economics from CSULA and an M.A. in Educational Technology from GCU. He and his wife, Amy, live in Culver City, California, with their three children, Molly, Dylan, and Henry.
I am a retired high school teacher, past president of CASET and have served on the CASET Board since it’s inception.
I taught Economics and AP Economics for 17 yrs. of my 30 years of teaching. From UCLA I earned a B.S. and from the University of Delaware a Master’s Degree in Economic Education. I was selected by NCEE (National Council on Economic Education now Council on Economic Education) to be part of a team of teachers to travel to Riga, Latvia to participate in a teaching workshop to assist teachers from countries in the former Soviet Union in the teaching of free market economics. My economics classes were activity focused in the teaching of basic micro and macro economic principles. I felt active participation in learning was important to understanding economic concepts. My students often reported how well prepared they were for entry level university economic courses.
Greg Fisher has been in education for the past 30 years. He currently serves as a Principal and teacher at Humanities and Arts Academy of Los Angeles, teaching Economics and Entrepreneurship. He has served on the boards of CASET (California Association of School Economics Teachers) since 2002 and CCEE (California Council of Economics Education) since 2011. Greg has participated in the training of teachers in Economics and Personal Finance as a representative of both CCEE and CASET. He has received numerous teaching awards including All USA-Today Teacher Team (2007), Toyota International Teacher Award (2008), The Global Association of Teachers of Economics (GATE) and the National Council for Economic Education (NCEE) Teacher of the Year (2006), CCEE Adam Smith Economics Teacher of the Year (2005), CFA Society of Los Angeles Economics Teacher of the Year (2006), Teacher of the Year Westchester High School (1995) and Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year Westchester High School (1996). Greg was a Regional Semi-Finalist in the National Council for Economic Education’s NASDAQ Educational Foundation National Teaching Award (1999). He also received the ‘US-NIS Awards Excellence in Teaching’ and traveled to Ukraine as part of a teacher exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Greg completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology with a minor in History at California State University Northridge. He received a M.A. degree in American Studies with an emphasis in Economics at Pepperdine University and a M.A. in Education from California State University Dominguez Hills.
My name is Nora Seager and I have been in education for over 20 years. My Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics is from Pomona College. Prior to teaching I worked for Deloitte and I performed auditing and accounting services. I am a Certified Public Accountant and love that so much of my prior work experience helps students in the classroom today. Additionally, I serves as a consultant to the Advanced Placement College Board. My role with the College Board requires working at the reading each year and training new AP educators. In the last three years, I am a Board member of the California Association of School Economics Teachers. The work with CASET has been rewarding and inspiring as we establish new concepts in reaching out to Economics teachers across the State.
Gifford Asimos currently serves as a teacher and School-to-Career Coordinator at Helix Charter High School in San Diego, teaching AP Economics, Economics, Accounting and Entrepreneurship. He serves on the Economics Education Foundation of San Diego Board of Directors as a Teacher Representative and Treasurer. He was named as one of the Top Ten Finalist for the San Diego County Teacher of the Year in 1999, the Helix Charter High School Teacher of the Year in 2003 and the Adam Smith Award Winner in 2005 for his contributions to Economic Education. Giff was heavily involved in the development and the grading of the Golden State Exam in Economics for over ten years. Giff completed his undergraduate studies in Business Economics at Colorado College. He received his Business Education teaching credential from the University of Colorado at Denver and his M.B.A. from National University.