AVON — Fifth-grade teacher Dustin Sites says students need to learn the importance of economics before they’re forced to deal with it.
With that in mind, Sites has prepared an entire curriculum around the economy at Avon Intermediate School East.
”One thing that you always hear is, ‘I’m never going to use this,’” Sites said. “This is something that they are going to use for the rest of their lives.”
For the past four years, Sites has been using personal finance, which includes the students applying for realistic jobs at the beginning of school year. From there, the students are paid bi-weekly.
”They learn how to set up a budget, open up a checking account, write checks, and fill out banks slips,” Sites said. “They have to pay the bills. They pay rent, water, electric, and they can buy insurance. Every week or every other week, I have a number of accidents that they could have. I have numbers that are randomly chosen.”
Sites said that if they have insurance, he pays 95 percent of the cost. If they don’t, the student pays it all.
He said that he also offers “absence insurance,” where the student can receive payment, even if they are absent from school.
The curriculum also includes an option to purchase stock, and gives a lesson on the current market conditions. That allows students to receive a better understanding of investments.
The program is geared toward 10- and 11-year-olds, and Sites said it teaches them how to spend and save money, while learning about interest rates and the importance of staying out of debt.