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Foundation teaches students free market economic principles overlooked, criticized at many universities

‘Renewed appreciation for the free enterprise system and the U.S. Constitution’

For students who want to learn about the benefits of free market economics — a concept often criticized at many colleges and universities — there’s a program that offers lessons and viewpoints that go unrecognized at the typical campus.

The Foundation for Teaching Economics describes its mission as introducing young people “to an economic way of thinking about national and international issues.” It offers both high school and collegiate-level programs.

“In most of our programs students are required to take a course in economics, taught from a free-market point of view, a perspective that they seldom get at most colleges and universities,” said Steve Slattery in an email to The College Fix.

Slattery is executive vice president for The Fund for American Studies, which oversees the Foundation for Teaching Economics.

The foundation gives students an opportunity to participate in a variety of exclusive guest lectures, as well as professional development and leadership training, Slattery said. Some students can even earn college credit, he said.

They leave with a “renewed appreciation for the free enterprise system and the U.S. Constitution,” Slattery said, adding they also expand their network of contacts and improve their career opportunities.

According to its website, the Foundation for Teaching Economics has been offered since 1991, and over the years has been described as “top-notch,” “wonderful” and even “life-changing” by participants.

Since its inception more than 14,000 students from all 50 states, as well as from Guam and Puerto Rico, have gone through an FTE program.

This past summer the foundation hosted 928 students through 19 in-person, weeklong programs on college and university campuses across the nation, as well as six virtual programs, said Becky Wilson, student admissions and program operations manager, in an email to The College Fix.

“The main goals for our programs is to give students the knowledge to understand the economic concepts shaping the global economy and foster their commitment to continued learning about economics and leadership,” Wilson said.

“We want students to discover their leadership potential and learn to develop and implement effective leadership skills that will help them work effectively as individuals and in teams,” she said.

Acceptance into a program is highly competitive. Wilson said students must submit an essay, a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor, and provide their complete high school transcripts.

The admissions committee “looks for students who have leadership potential, maturity and an overall vision for their future,” Wilson said.

Once students complete the program, there’s an active alumni network as well with ongoing learning opportunities, she said.

The foundation also offers a similar program for economics teachers. The group provides resources for educators, including seminars, curriculum outlines and lesson plans on topics such as entrepreneurship and environmental economics.

About 21,600 teachers have gone through the program since 1991, according to a representative of the foundation.

MORE: Colleges should teach about morality of free markets, think-tank leader says

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Jasmyn Jordan - University of Iowa