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Economics Education

Steven Pinker voices support for economics education at all levels. I have to agree!

How to Get Inside a Student’s Head
by Steven Pinker

Finally, a better understanding of the mind can lead to setting new priorities as to what is taught. The goal of education should be to provide students with new cognitive tools for grasping the world. Observers from our best scientists to Jay Leno are appalled by the scientific illiteracy of typical Americans. This obliviousness leads people to squander their health on medical flimflam and to misunderstand the strengths and weaknesses of a market economy in their political choices.
The obvious solution is instruction at all levels in relatively new fields like economics, evolutionary biology and statistics. Yet most curriculums are set in stone, because no one wants to be the philistine who seems to be saying that it is unimportant to learn a foreign language or the classics. But there are only 24 hours in a day, and a decision to teach one subject is a decision not to teach another. The question is not whether trigonometry is important — it is — but whether it is more important than probability; not whether an educated person should know the classics, but whether it is more important to know the classics than elementary economics.
This is not just a question of “relevance” to everyday life; these fields are as rigorous and fundamental as those in traditional curriculums.

Filed under: Economics, Education, Teaching



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