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Jackson High School Advanced Placement economics class ‘taking it to the streets’

Students of Henry M. Jackson High School’s first-ever Advanced Placement (AP)* macroeconomics class took to the streets (or more correctly, the sidewalks) to demonstrate their command of economic theory.
Economic diagrams showing how a combination of fiscal and monetary policy would increase demand for goods and services while lowering unemployment. Photo credit: Everett Public Schools.

By Mary Waggoner, Everett School District Director of Communications.

The Jackson High School Advanced Placement economics class celebrated the end of formal test preparation with “Chalk Day.”

Students of Henry M. Jackson High School’s first-ever Advanced Placement (AP)* macroeconomics class took to the streets (or more correctly, the sidewalks) to demonstrate their command of economic theory.

Student teams simulated the task of briefing an incoming president and newly appointed Federal Reserve chairperson on how using a combination of fiscal and monetary policy would, in the short-term, increase demand for goods and services and lower unemployment.

Students supported their policy proposals using graphical analysis of:

  1. How changes in government purchasing result in shifts of the aggregate demand curve effecting both prices and production;
  2. How their suggested Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee’s action would affect the nation’s money supply, quantity of loanable funds, and interest rates; and
  3. How their fiscal and monetary policy implementation would result in changes to both unemployment and inflation.

“I was impressed,” said their teacher Andy Sevald.

“There is always a raft of unknowns each time you teach a new subject,” continued Sevald.

“Would the students be interested? Could they tolerate the typically dry, yet necessary data tables, math equations and graphical analysis used in the course? And most importantly, would they, could they, put it together and connect the significant number of interrelationships and dependencies that define an open economy? For the most part, they did and showed a level of understanding that they will carry with them well beyond their high school experience.”

“This is simply fantastic stuff here!” said Dr. Tony Byrd, associate superintendent of curriculum, assessment and special programs. “I really appreciate the launch of this class, the clear success, the student demonstration of theory and much more. Wonderful work!”

The summer-like weather last Wednesday drew many teachers and their classes outside. One teacher, after being briefed on the activity and what the graphs meant, asked a student, “Fascinating, what do you plan to do with that?”

“For when the time comes,” replied the student, “to be a really good voter.”

*AP and Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Entrance Examinations Board.

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