|Establish an Add-on Endorsement in the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel (8VAC20-23) to Teach Economics and Personal Finance
|Ended on 4/15/2022
When I was an undergraduate student, it was during my third college economics class that economics really “clicked” for me. When I was a student teacher (and after that, a new teacher), and I found I could use my economic way of thinking to quickly find answers to the questions my high school students would ask me. But if I had been in the situation that so many new teachers are -- assigned to teach economics with little preparation – my experience would have been totally different. I support the proposed add-on endorsement for Economics and Personal Finance (EPF) because it provides both a high standard to teach EPF, but also provides the means for teachers to reach this standard for free.
Furthermore, the add-on endorsement for EPF expands the range of teachers who are allowed to teach the class. One of the best economics teachers I know was licensed in English! The add-on endorsement allows a path for all teachers to gain the subject matter knowledge necessary to teach this class. Since the proposal allows this to be on-site through local colleges, or through an online class, or through one of Virginia’s curricular organizations, the infrastructure exists to make this a relatively painless process – an incoming teacher who already has one economics course from her undergraduate years could become qualified to teach EPF with just two weeks of free intensive summer institutes. Without the endorsement, new teachers are likely to arrive with the correct license, but without the correct subject-matter experience. They are also likely to be blocked from teaching the class for not having the right license, even if the experience is readily available. The add-on endorsement solves these problems.
For implementation of the add-on endorsement, it will be important that school divisions be provided a list of programs that provide the opportunity to fill out the requirement. Since the programs already exist, it should not be too onerous for school divisions.
Economics and personal finance are complex topics. A teacher can’t just read the textbook ahead of time and have mastery over the content. Incoming teachers have far more college experience with other subject matter than economics and personal finance. We need both the resources and the incentive to close this gap in subject-matter knowledge and familiarity with lesson plans, so the crucial lessons of economics and personal finance can be taught with the highest possible quality. We want students to say “EPF was my favorite class in high school!” The add-on endorsement is a step in that direction.