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District Educators Road Trip to Washington for Talk With Fed Chairman

Janice Carter of Hermitage High School in Henrico, Virginia, is one of 30 economics, history and personal finance teachers who traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Federal Reserve’s Teacher Town Hall with Chairman Jerome Powell.

By Economic Education and Corporate Communications

It was an unusually warm winter day as 30 teachers of economics, history and personal finance boarded a bus in Richmond, Virginia, and headed to Washington, D.C., for the Federal Reserve’s Teacher Town Hall and a conversation with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Along with 30 educators from the Baltimore, Maryland, area they filled the chambers where Fed policymakers routinely meet to conduct monetary policy.

The chairman gave opening remarks and then addressed questions from educators who were seated in the room with him, as well as those who engaged nationally by live webcast. The conversation covered a range of topics from the Federal Reserve’s unique role in the nation’s economy to the importance of economics education in developing critical thinking and analytical skills that youth need to become well-informed and productive citizens. “Some of your students may go on to become professional economists, but all of them, I hope, will apply the valuable lessons and the skills they have gained from economics in other careers and in others aspects of their lives,” Powell said during the live webcast.

The Board of Governors and the staff from the Richmond Fed’s Economic Education department presented the February 6 “Conversation With the Chairman: A Teacher Town Hall Meeting” event as they had previously with former Fed chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen. “This event provided educators with an avenue to discuss the Fed, monetary policy and economics in a personal and engaging way,” explained Kevin Woodcox, senior economic education specialist at the Richmond Fed and a member of the program planning committee. “Events like the town hall bring the Fed out of dusty textbooks and into the real world. The teachers play an important role in helping their students relate to and better understand the Fed and to find their place in the economy.”

Nationwide, regional Reserve Banks hosted local discussions and town hall watch events for educators. The Richmond Fed’s Charlotte, North Carolina, branch hosted a program for 25 teachers featuring a monetary policy presentation by Regional Executive Matthew Martin and instruction from Economic Education Specialist Yolanda Ferguson on how to teach monetary policy in the classroom. The evening included a dinner and group viewing of the town hall. Donna Jones, a teacher at Mint Hill Middle School in Matthews, North Carolina, was among those who attended the program and viewing. From our Charlotte office, she asked Chairman Powell: “What would be your major concern regarding U.S. economic conditions for the next 10 years?”

The Charlotte, North Carolina, branch hosted a program that included a monetary policy presentation from Regional Executive Matthew Martin before engaging in the town hall webcast.

Most of the participants in the Richmond Fed’s road trip to Washington, D.C., and the Charlotte program are members of the Teacher Collaborative Committee associated with our three locations. They meet with our economic education teams throughout the school year, providing insights about the classroom experience and sharing their expertise in developing and testing economic education resources. The committee members were particularly engaged in helping to test-drive Invest in What’s Next: Life After High School, our online course that helps students evaluate their choices after high school.

“We create classroom lessons and activities and offer field trip opportunities to help students better understand economics, personal finance and the Federal Reserve System,” said Angie Collier, senior economic education specialist. “It’s critical to us that all the resources we develop are what classroom teachers need. Who better to inform our practice than the teachers themselves?”

The Richmond Fed’s economic education team join Chairman Powell for a photo following the town hall. Left to right: Alex Cornwell, Kevin Woodcox, Chairman Powell, Angie Collier and Sarah Gunn.

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