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Thread: Teaching kids business and financial skills.

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    Top Contributor Chabrenas is a Premium Member
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    Teaching kids business and financial skills.

    Clinton touched on this in his HE thread, but it applies wherever kids are schooled. As far as I know, there are no schools in the 'western' world that include basic income management, let alone business and trading skills, in their school curricula. It is a feature of home-taught skills in nations or ethnic groups who have traditionally been the world's merchants.

    My parents were teachers, and even though my father had risen to the post of Assistant Director of Education by the time Tanganyika became independent, he never had any 'wealth' until he retired in Penang and made friends with the Chinese, who guided his investment activities for the rest of his life. But that was still rent-seeking, not generation of wealth, and nearly a third of it disappeared between the date of his death and final probate. In the story Kawasaki uses to introduce his well-known book, I had a Poor Dad, but no Rich Dad to teach me. I went through life spending taxed income, and hoping for pay rises. I still don't really have the skills to identify and assess a business opportunity, or to do the things that make one come to fruition, although I've read plenty of books purporting to teach them.

    I'd love to really learn and practice a little of that skill before I disappear from this earth.

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    Clinton (13 February 2012)

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    A number of UK schools do teach exactly this...
    mainly the private (public) schools...

    http://www.young-enterprise.org.uk/
    founded nearly 50 years ago - a lot of schools are involved with this...
    the rise also of programmes such as young Apprentice etc. show some of the current interest...

    agree that it would be good to do more though...
    I am sure (with no facts to back it up) that most young entrepreneurs are likely to have parents who are the same...

    Alasdair

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    Chabrenas (13 February 2012)

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    Top Contributor Chabrenas is a Premium Member
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    Thanks for that link, Alasdair. I'd heard of them, but didn't realise they'd been around that long. Just shows what an uphill slog they've had, although the arrival of popular TV shows that torment young people who fancy themselves as entrepreneurs has probably helped.

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Entrepreneurship is, of course, only a small part of financial skills. I'd like to see kids learn how to deal with financial institutions and capable of understanding financial small print, how to save, how to differentiate and choose between complex pricing plans, how to combat marketing (to "protect" their money), how to analyse insurance risk and cost etc. etc. Most school leavers today don't seem to even know what compound interest is. That's disgusting!

    Of late there have been some good websites and products to teach kids about finance.
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    Chabrenas (14 February 2012)

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    US schools have the same program, called Junior Achievement in the US. I remember back in elementary school JA came with a bunch of dis-assembled pens and walked us through the rough economics of manufacturing (profits, productivity, outsourcing). I remember later, we spent all week training for a fake town that they were going to set up. We learned how checkbooks and credit cards work. We learned the basics of the business we were going to be working in that Friday. I remember there was a bank, a concession stand, a radio station where you could buy advertising, several gift shops, and more. Then that Friday, they built a town in our gym with these wood structures that they had. It was awesome! I was good with math so I worked in the bank. Everyone had checkbooks so the bank was always busy. It was all too much fun for a 12yr old.

    In high school, we had a student run bank. I think it was actually managed by a local community bank, but students worked in almost every position. If I remember right, they only did checking and savings accounts. You could work in the bank as an elective, and when you weren't working the counter you were learning about how banks worked.

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    One of the big problems with education in the UK is the emphasis on league tables.
    While this at first seems to provide good, useful information for parents, what happens at a lot of schools is that children who the school think may only have a borderline chance of passing exams are excluded from taking the exam in case they fail and negatively affect the schools pass rate.
    Teachers are focusing on the subjects were they feel they can get the highest number of passes, regardless of whether the child ends up with a well-rounded education.
    We moved our daughter to a private school after her secondary school announced that it had applied for 'centre of sporting excellence' status and the head teacher admitted to us that this would be the schools main area of focus in future.

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    Chabrenas (14 February 2012)

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    I agree about the league tables, eddiebooth. But isn't that just the tip of the iceberg that's the industrialisation of education?

    What are GCSEs if not just a way of testing schools and keeping track of which ones are producing the right shaped widgets with a error tolerance of between A and C?

    Isn't that true of all "testing"?

    That testing exists in itself means that educators can teach to "the test"; that the result of testing is used to measure performance of students/teachers gives educators an incentive to teach to the test.

    Sorry to hear about your daughter, but I think you did the right thing. All this centre of excellence nonsense is detracting from the real job of education and focusing instead on pushing pupils down a route that is most convenient for the educators.

    what happens at a lot of schools is that children who the school think may only have a borderline chance of passing exams are excluded from taking the exam in case they fail and negatively affect the schools pass rate.
    LOL, that's how education works in this country right from the get go! When children start in reception they are given what's called a "baseline assessment" (a test!) The idea is that if you know where the child was when he started you'll know how much he has gained over the course of his first year at school. In reality it's an opportunity for teachers to routinely under score every child so the teacher ends up looking good at the end of the year when the kids have made "huge improvements".

    At KS1 or Key Stage 1 (year 2, 6-7 year olds) kids are tested and graded from the lowest of 1c to the highest of 3a (1c, 1b, 1a, 2c, 2b, 2a, 3c, 3b, 3a). At KS1 the average expected is 2b and at KS2 (year 6, 11 year old) the average expected is 4b. Teachers have a perverse incentive to not grade kids at KS1 any higher than a 3a. For example, if a kid is capable of a 4b in maths in KS1, the teacher would score him as a 3. That way his teachers for the next four years don't really have to teach him much to ensure he meets the "minimum improvement" they need to show per year.

    It's one bloody rotten system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    It's one bloody rotten system.
    I'll second that!
    The present system is so focused on individual schools 'core' subjects to such an extent that kids who have other abilities but happen to be in the wrong school thanks to the catchment area system may never get the chance to develop their strengths and maximise their potential. I have interviewed many youngsters over the last 12 years and it is depressing how many totally lack any individuality, the schools just churn out clones who, as you say, have met the teachers 'minimum improvement' targets.
    The really annoying thing is that, as a lifelong socialist and supporter of our education system and NHS, I always swore no child of mine would go to a private school.

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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiebooth View Post
    The really annoying thing is that, as a lifelong socialist and supporter of our education system and NHS, I always swore no child of mine would go to a private school.
    That attitude is why it is easier than most people think for "common people" to get their children into public schools. "Common people" don't try to get their children into public schools.

    When I was small a retired teacher told my mother that it was possible to go to certain public schools in our area on scholarship. It was simply a matter of writing them in the schools preference section of the 11+ application, and getting a high enough examination mark. So I got into a good public school on a scholarship, while living in a council house. Could have got free meals, too, but my mum was too proud to apply.

    In those days about 25 places from 130 each year were scholarship students, and the school was in the top 10 of the Telegraph table. 20 of those scholarships were provided by the state - but a labour government abolished those while I was still at the school.

    Nowadays the school only provides about 5 endowed scholarships a year and has slipped down the league table to about 30th. Other schools which have a higher percentage of endowed scholarships have become higher placed in the table. When I was a kid, we used to refer to Eton as a "charm school", but for a long time it has been collecting scholarship money. About 40% of Eton's students get in for free, and it is a lot higher in that table than it was 50 years ago.

    The point is that the better public schools maintain their status by picking the best students they can find to educate. Their entrance exams are open to all, if you get a high enough mark you can get a scholarship. The mechanisms for entry are not publicised, and, thanks to the Labour party, opportunities are reduced since the abolition of the direct grant scheme about 40 years ago.

    If people take the trouble to ask about how to get their child into a public school, they are free to apply. It is not an exclusive system if your child has talent ...
    Last edited by crabfoot; 15 February 2012 at 5:27 am.

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    For those of you not in the UK, "public school" here means "private school"! Don't ask me, I don't write the definitions
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