Financial services firm Stephens Inc. of Little Rock and Economics Arkansas, an educational nonprofit, have created an umbrella PreK-12 program focused on free enterprise education for schools and students across the state.
Stephens' multimedia educational series, "This is Capitalism", will serve as its key component.
The program will be broken into grade-specific, branded curriculum and comprise 39 workshops and resources for teachers. It is designed to serve more than 31,000 students and teachers during the 2018-19 school year.
The curriculum consists of:
- Itty Bitty Economics — Through songs, play, art and children's literature, children as young as 4 will learn the economic way of thinking. This program serve grades PreK-2, and 10 teacher trainings will be offered across the state.
- Compact Concept Connectors — A set of teaching guides that tell the "story of economics." Each eight-page, fold-out guide contains concept background with examples, an introductory activity, three reproducible activity pages with teaching notes, key points for students and extension ideas. This program will serve grades K-5; 16 teacher trainings will be offered.
- iNSPIRE — The "This is Capitalism" video series will serve as a springboard for lesson plans, activities and research projects about the accomplishments of extraordinary individuals made possible because of certain economic conditions. This program will serve grades 6-12; 11 teacher trainings will be offered.
- Teaching Free Enterprise is Arkansas — Teachers will learn from local entrepreneurs and experts how to nurture the next peer group of successful businesspeople. This program serves grades 9-12; two teacher trainings will be offered.
"Through meaningful education and practical knowledge, we are empowering the next generation of Arkansas business leaders," Stephens Inc. President and CEO Warren Stephens said in news release. "By virtue of living in the United States, we are all capitalists. Everyday transactions —putting gas in our cars, buying groceries — are just as much a part of capitalism as financing growing companies and investing in ideas."
"Our mission is to ensure that Arkansas students receive the best economic, personal finance and free enterprise education possible," Kathleen Lawson, executive director of Economics Arkansas, said in the release. "We believe that the partnership between Economics Arkansas and Stephens creates ample opportunity to provide teachers, and in turn students, with creative, thought-provoking and insightful materials that will further enhance our program and reach across the state. Our vision is for Arkansas students to master an understanding of economics and personal finance and apply that knowledge in the free enterprise system. We are excited to have the support of Stephens to increase our ability to do that."