The local nonprofit organization Youth Entrepreneurs is engaging Kansas City area high school students in critical thinking about economics through the Urban Economics Academy.
Every other Saturday, Kansas City area high school students come together to explore a variety of economic topics relevant to urban communities including private property rights, entitlement programs and minimum wage. Students also participate in group discussions about a variety of readings including the popular book “Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
Additionally, the academy provides students with unique field trip opportunities to places such as Washington D.C., and Orange County, Calif., to gain hands-on knowledge about economics.
Sixteen students are involved, from schools including Harmon, Wyandotte and Washington High School in Kansas City, Kan., and Van Horn in Missouri. In addition to Kansas City area students, two students commute from Topeka High School to participate. The Academy is open to all Youth Entrepreneurs students.
The Urban Economics Academy was first piloted in 2012, and the high engagement encouraged Youth Entrepreneurs to continue the program this year. They also launched two additional economic academies this year which are conducted via webcast: the Rural Economics Academy and the Migrant Economics Academy. The Rural Economics Academy focuses on economic issues pertaining to rural communities. The Migrant Economics Academy explores immigration issues. Students from a variety of schools in Kansas and Missouri log on to the sessions every other week from their computers.
“The goal of the Economics Academies is to increase students’ economic knowledge through critical thinking,” said Vernon Birmingham, Youth Entrepreneurs’ program manager. “Introducing new concepts to students in ways relative to their surroundings peaks their interest and eagerness to learn.”
The Urban Economics Academy started classes in November and will conclude in May.
- Story from Urban Economics Academy, Youth Entrepreneurs