WLTX (South Carolina)
By: Ashleigh Walters
October 26, 2010
Many teachers use fictional stock portfolios to help students hone math skills, but at the Ariel Community Academy on Chicago's South Side, students have a vested interest in learning, because they are risking real money.
Each Ariel class receives an endowment of $20,000, which they begin to actively manage in 6th grade. When they graduate 8th grade, the class donates half of their profits to charity. Each student receives an equal share of the remaining profits, usually just over one hundred dollars, to invest on their own.
The unique public school-private business partnership was created by financier John Rogers and former Chicago schools chief, now U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
"In 1995, we were young and dumb enough to think that we could create a great public school," said Duncan.
Exposure to the financial literacy curriculum starts in kindergarten, and echoes across every subject in every grade.
Mariah Sheriff, a teacher at the school, said, "We teach professional finance and we teach investments and in the 7th grade, we talk about international trade."
Rogers said, "We think by exposing our boys and girls to the stock market at an early age, it's really helping to enhance their math skills."
While the students' stock portfolios rise and fall, their test scores are trending up. Eighty-eight percent of students are exceeding state standards in math.
For more, visit www.edutopia.org