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In 1962, Archibald (Arch) Ford, Arkansas education commissioner, and Bessie Moore, supervisor of education, formed the Arkansas Council on Economic Education (ACEE) as a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization to promote economic literacy in Arkansas. Now known as Economics Arkansas, the organization's mission is “to promote economic literacy and the economic-way of thinking to students in Arkansas by empowering educators to teach the fourth ‘r,’ real life economics.” Economic education is real-life, because young people will grow up and become part of the marketplace. The council provides resources and training to Arkansas teachers (kindergarten through twelfth grade) in public and independent schools. Through training of teachers, a multiplier effect is achieved. Each school year, the training a teacher receives through Economics Arkansas may be transmitted to a new group of students.
Economics Arkansas is a member of the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) and participates in Economics America and Economics International programs. These programs, sponsored by the NCEE, provide materials for teaching and sponsor competitions among teachers and their classes starting at regional levels, with winners advancing to state and national competitions.
The organizaton's services are provided by a central office in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and through six university-based centers for economic education: the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), Henderson State University (HSU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County), Southern Arkansas University (SAU) in Magnolia (Columbia County), and the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM). All centers are affiliates of the national council. More than 120 Arkansas school districts are affiliated with the state's Economics America program.
Programs the council supplies to Arkansas schools include the Economics America program, the Stock Market GameTM, Economics Challenge, the Bessie B. Moore awards program, and the Polly M. Jackson Master Economics Teacher program.
The most important annual fundraising event for the Economics Arkansas is the Trivia Challenge, a live competition among teams of economics students, which had raised $400,000 through 2004. The Arkansas Bankers Association has raised more than $1.5 million for the Arkansas council since 1962.
Five full-time professionals—an executive director, an associate director, a program coordinator, a development assistant, and an administrative assistant—work to fulfill the functions of the council.
Arkansas Association for Economic Education (AAEE)Classroom teachers of economics have their own group, the Arkansas Association for Economic Education (AAEE). The AAEE’s board of directors is composed almost equally of educators and leaders in business, agriculture, government, and labor. Members are elected to three-year terms and are dedicated to promoting and supporting economic education. Customarily, the chairman is not an educator, while the president is. There also are eight at-large executive committee members and forty-seven directors. The principal function of the board and officers is to raise funds and promote economic education programs throughout Arkansas. Funding sources include grants, sponsorships, sales, special events, and individual gifts of cash or stock. In addition, the council receives an appropriation each budget cycle from the Arkansas Department of Education.
For additional information:Economics Arkansas. http://www.economicsarkansas.org/ (accessed November 11, 2014).
Barton A. Westerlund and Roger K. ChisholmLittle Rock, Arkansas
Last Updated 10/24/2016
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