Miss. students rent their desks, learn finances

Students of fourth-grade teachers Alec McAlarnen and Haylee Botts at an elementary school in Mississippi are learning the value of a dollar in today’s world in addition to the regular lessons in science, reading, and math, the Sun Herald reports out of Gulfport, Mississippi.

As part of a program called My Classroom Economy, created by investment-management company Vanguard, students at South Hancock Elementary School get a taste of the real world. They pay rent on their desks, they have jobs with a paycheck, and they learn financial literacy, including earnings, investment, purchasing, and money management.

“The kids learn the value of a dollar,” the paper quoted Mr McAlarnen as saying. “The kids learn about balancing a checkbook. They learn responsibility. They learn organization skills. It’s something they can definitely take with them outside of the classroom.”

Part of the learning comes from students’ ability to organize their daily activities to manage their money. A class “police officer” has the responsibility of enforcing fines that students may have to pay for certain infractions. That also helps keep the class in order.

Other faculty members at the school have also contributed to the lessons, including Principal Rose Jenkins.

“It takes a very special teacher to do something like this,” the paper quoted her as saying. “It’s a lot to take on and it has really motivated students to learn. I’m proud of all my teachers, but I’m very proud of Alec and Haylee.”

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.