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Does Education Revolution = Economic Revolution? The Fed thinks so

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says US teachers hold the power for future economic prosperity

On August 7th, hundreds of teachers from across the U.S. attended The Federal Reserve’s Teacher Town Hall, an open-floor panel discussion Q & A session with the Fed’s Chairman, Ben Bernanke. The panel presentation focused on the critical role teachers – especially teachers in the public sector – will play as assets for continued economic growth in a post-recession United States.

Ben Bernanke – who holds a PhD in Economics and has taught the subject at the Stanford Graduate School, NYU and Princeton – has been the central target of many financial critics in the wake of the 2008 recession. Naturally, many of the public appearances he’s made in the last 5 years have been in relation to that financial crisis, and it has become the context that has defined much of  his public persona.

But, Bernanke’s appearance at the teacher-friendly panel discussion offered a different view of the teacher-turned-financial-system-demagogue.

Bernanke’s opinions on public education funding as essential to growth in the US were clear, and he frequently emphasized the importance of the role that teachers have in shaping the economic values of American youth. This was a particularly interesting point in relation to The Fed’s seemingly new-found interest in increasing the financial literacy of the American people. Could public elementary and high schools become new centers for financial learning? According to Bernanke, an increase in financial learning strategies would be welcome, given how important the financial system is to the American social and economic fabric.

Bernanke also made interesting points on how K-12 teachers can have a critical role on positioning young people to enter a modern, ever-evolving workforce that is increasingly defined by technological advancements - particularly in manufacturing, where he cites instances of American companies seeking foreign high-skilled manufacturing employees because there isn’t enough qualified Americans to fill the positions in that job market.

Check out the  full Teacher Town Hall C-SPAN taping right here:

What do you think of Bernanke’s take on the relationship between K-12 teachers and economic growth? Does your school district want to increase or initiate financial literacy and learning programs? Let us know in the comments!

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