Dr. Tracy Scott-McLemore, left, director of the Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for Economic Education at McNeese State University, explains to volunteer Megan Sheppard, a Moss Bluff education major, how to incorporate economic terms such as inflation into her lesson plans using a balloon. McNeese has partnered with the Junior Achievement of Southwest Louisiana organization to bring financial literacy programs into area classrooms.
(October 23, 2013) McNeese State University's Department of Education Professions and Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for Economic Education have partnered with the Junior Achievement of Southwest Louisiana organization to bring financial literacy programs into the classrooms of area students in grades K-12.
"Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and inspire young people to succeed in a global economy by teaching financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship," said Meg Lovejoy, district director of the Junior Achievement program. "Programs are provided, at no charge, to K-12 teachers who request them."
According to Lovejoy, volunteers come from area business, industry, retirees and McNeese teacher candidates. "In the past, JA has had more teacher requests than we have had volunteers. With the addition of the McNeese students, we have provided many more free JA classes to area schools."
Over 60 McNeese students have volunteered at 17 schools in Beauregard and Calcasieu parishes. JA provides McNeese student volunteers with everything they need to teach classes, from step-by-step instructions to the handouts.
Dr. Linda Hurst, McNeese assistant professor of education professions, teaches EDUC 203, a course considered as an introduction to teacher education for mostly freshmen. "These students have not yet been accepted into the McNeese education professions program," said Hurst. "Ordinarily, this course requires students to simply go to a school and 'observe' teachers in action…With the advent of the Junior Achievement program, our students actually get the chance to teach five classes themselves. I believe our students are benefiting greatly from this experience. Most of them have said that this has reinforced their desire to become teachers."
Dr. Tracy Scott-McLemore, director of the Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for Economic Education, said this partnership also provides excellent opportunities for the grade-school students in Southwest Louisiana.
"With the recent removal of Free Enterprise from the secondary curriculum in the state of Louisiana, it is more important than ever that economic education be disseminated into the K-12 schools and that our students achieve college and career readiness and ultimately become competitive in the national and global market place," she said.
Also, Scott-McLemore pointed out that with the impending economic boom in this region over the next decade, it is "vital that our young people are equipped with enough economic understanding to ensure their future success here."
According to Lovejoy, the Calcasieu Parish School System is working with her organization to provide a financial literacy program to all students taking the Journeys to Careers class during the 2013-2014 school year.
"Approximately 1,465 students will receive financial literacy education while participating in Capital One/JA Finance Park scheduled Jan. 13-28 at Citgo Park. Students who visit this mobile Finance Park will be assigned a fictional life situation so they can experience first-hand the real life challenges of making personal budgeting decisions," she stated.
"The students will visit 19 business kiosks that each represent a different budget category. Through this interactive process, students grasp the relevance of what they have learned in the classroom to the real world and better understand the relationship between income and lifestyle," explained Lovejoy.