Monthly Archives: June 2014

Class Session #2: What’s The Value of a College Education? To Infinity and Beyond…

Back again for an update about my personal finance class at an East Palo Alto High School.  How to engage students today?  We kicked off class today asking students to estimate the economic value of a college education.  Remember the audience:  these are 9th grade students who have enrolled at a rigorous college prep program motivated by the desire to be the first in their family to graduate from college.  As I wandered around the classroom, I sensed some confusion.  I got the sense many had not necessarily thought about college completion in these terms.  They knew they wanted a college education to make a better life for themselves and their families but hadn’t necessarily thought about quantifying the benefit that comes from that education.  Their estimates for the lifetime value of a college education ranged from a few thousand dollars to my favorite answer:  infinity.  I am always humbled by what I learn from my students.  When I asked her to explain this answer, she spoke succinctly and with confidence:  “college opens up infinite possiblities.”  How right she is!   Continue reading

In The Classroom: Day 1

Exciting start to my summer teaching assignment at a local high school in East Palo Alto.  I am teaching three sections of rising 9th graders a curriculum that I have honed over the past three years.   How would I describe it?  Chock-full of real-world activities while developing decision-making skills focused on the the future.  I like to think of it as a class I would have enjoyed when I was fourteen.  Over the next six weeks, students will buy a stock, choose a savings account, select a credit card, learn about ways to pay for college and create a personal finance PSA to teach a concept to their peers.   I thought I would spend an hour after each class writing about my impressions of what worked and didn’t work so I can continue to improve the course.  So, what happened yesterday? Continue reading