Economics department enriches and inspires

Alex Stenman, media editor

There’s a cliche that “not everyone can make it in business,” that the ability to make informed, viable decisions on the fly doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and that only a certain group of individuals can truly master the art of balancing economics. Since the introduction of the class, students in AP Economics (AP Econ) classes at Edina High School have faced this challenge head-on. In recent years, in an effort to help them, AP Econ teachers have increased learning opportunities for students to better grasp the challenging class content.

Steven Cullison, an EHS alumni himself, has been teaching economics at the high school for six years. Throughout that time, Cullison has learned that students are often unaware of economic enrichment opportunities to apply what they practice in class.

“One of my favorite things about this course is the number of [enrichment activities] that come with chances to actually get money or jobs and such,” Cullison said. “Businesses tend to be drawn to economics [when sponsoring education programs] as they see it being so closely tied to their missions. As a result, you end up with more competitions that are well funded.”

Cullison says economics students at EHS have the opportunity to join the National Economics Challenge Team, which, in addition to being a part of a competition at Harvard University every year, competes for the first place state trophy and the right to go to the national competition in Washington DC. Students can also submit essays to the Federal Reserve essay contest, which grants prize money and a potential internship at the Federal Reserve for the winner. There’s also an option to join a team that operates their own virtual business and competes against other school’s businesses in the JA Titan competition. Along with one-on-one after school tutoring and optional side projects, Cullison says these activities can make students more confident in their business abilities.

Cullison doesn’t want the cliche of business being a tough starter class to discourage students from exploring the field or taking advantage of these offered competitions. “It’s not necessarily a math class, it’s more of a money class. [In AP Econ] you solve problems, and in that case it is similar to math. But [the class] also appeals to those who enjoy psychology and philosophy, and can embrace the logical aspect of it and find something there.” 

These additional options being offered to students are inviting to those who could potentially utilize these skills in later careers. Student processing and understanding of learned economic knowledge is certainly improving and, much like the businesses they may end up working for in the future, is set to be trending upwards.