To the editor:
A recent survey of 8,205 high school student, published in the Deseret News, indicated that barely one-third could correctly define "profit" and "gross national product." Less than half recognized the correct meaning of "government deficit" or "demand," according to the survey, conducted for the Joint Council on Economic Education.As president of Junior Achievement Inc., the nation's largest provider of economic-education programs, I agree that too many young people are illiterate when it comes to the ABCs of economics and business. But a solution exists.
We work with corporate America to bring hands-on, in-class instruction in economics to more than one million students each year.
That number is growing by 15 percent per year, but it's not enough. We need the support of every American to improve the quality of economic education in our schools and make it available to every student.
Economic literacy is vital to good citizenship. Despite the fact that America's young people probably know more about economics and business than any previous generation, the gaps in their knowledge are troubling.
Educators are beginning to place economics high on their agenda. In decades past, economics wasn't taught at all below the college level. In recent years, the trend among educators and legislators has been to make economics a prerequisite to high school graduation.
In the greater Salt Lake area, Junior Achievement programs are in the curriculum in more than 75 elementary, junior high and senior high schools.
There is a great need for what we teach. Junior Achievement has a 70-year tradition of teaching young people how to run a business. But it is only in the past decade or so that we've begun to deal more directly with creating economic literacy.
Much has been done, but much remains. With the continued support of the American public and the business community, future generations will find high school graduates well-versed in the ABCs of economics.
Junior Achievement Inc.