Teaching Free Enterprise

Teaching Free Enterprise is the American Institute for Economic Research’s Program designed to bring world class free market economic research and ideas to K-12 teachers to improve the quality and experience of economic education in Middle School and High School classrooms.

The TFE team designs State Standard compliant and aligned lesson plans, online and offline classroom activities based on practical and real-world complex free-market economic ideas. Our units are made in conjunction with leading scholars from renown Universities and research centers.

We then proceed to partner with State Departments of Education, Regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) and/or School Districts (Public and Charter) to bring these academic units for a Professional Development Session with middle and high school social studies teachers.

Through our online learning management system, we are then able to track how many student handout prints, video plays, etc. are being used by each individual teacher so we can measure implementation and adoption of our curriculum. We currently have an overall adoption rate of 30% of attendees that implement the curriculum in their classrooms within 4 months.

Our best rating has been a 50% session by session (in Dallas, Texas) retention rate of teachers that have attended two or more programs with us. We currently operate in Texas, Arkansas and are soon expanding (Summer 2018) to Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

Our Current Lesson Plan Offerings are:

1.       Paradox of Progress. The paradox of progress is that creative destruction is everywhere, once a new, better technology or process arrives, there is market disruption in labor, processes, etc. This unit analyzes the forces that participate in this, with historical examples of disruptions. The student will understand that change is inevitable, and we must be willing to be lifelong learners in order to keep up with economic and technological change.

2.       Time Well Spent. While economic analysis in general focuses on inflation as an indicator of an overall economy’s health, we explain recent human progress and poverty reduction in absolute terms. The reality of recent economic history is we work less and obtain more. Long gone are the days in which enormous amounts of laborers participated in the least productive sectors of the economy. Productivity has made us wealthier and more comfortable. This unit explains the historical trends of productivity and wealth creation in modern economies, and how these changes are transforming lesser developed economies.

3.       Trade. Trade makes us richer and happier. This unit goes into economic experiments to explain how subjective value and opportunity cost are major drivers of human progress that span large geographic areas, go across oceans and make us more peaceful, richer and happier societies. 

4.       Economic Freedom of the World. Measuring economic freedom has become a driving force to understand and forecast success in economies. The more economically free societies are, the wealthier, healthier and more successful they become. This unit explains how institutions, economics, geography and the rule of law play major roles in well-being and dignified human flourishing.

5.       Taxation and Public Finance. Taxes are everywhere, this unit analyses the reason why taxes occur and how the public treasury is financed by overt and hidden taxes. This unit also looks at the effect of taxes in entrepreneur’s decisions and how this has an effect in the economy.

6.       Morality of Markets. Voluntary exchange makes us behave morally. How many times do you go back to a business establishment (if you have the choice) if you’ve been cheated on by the business? This unit takes a good look at how business, entrepreneurship, and voluntary exchange rewards “good” and moral behavior, this ultimately makes us more trusting and rich as societies.

7.       Labor Market Economics. There is a market for everyone’s labor. What happens when we introduce barriers, price fixing and more generally, mess through policy with what people are willing to work for and employers willing to pay for? We get all sorts of unintended consequences and distortions that unfortunately have effects in the people that need it most, those that are unemployed.

8.       Macroeconomics I (Short-Run Macro) What is money? What effects do policy, governments, supply, demand have on a nation’s money supply? What role do banks and banking policy have on what our money is worth? This unit examines monetary cycles and what lessons we can have about inflation and markets regarding money.

9.       Development Economics: Why are some countries richer than others? Students and teachers take a deep look at what the history of economies has been, and how industrialization, entrepreneurship, free markets and strong institutions have made the biggest difference in the prosperity and well-being of populations.

10.     Are Sweatshops Good or Bad? (Opportunity Cost) What is the real cost of our cheap clothes? What can we do to improve the lives of the workers around the world? Why is it that no matter what we campaign for, there will always be another very poor country opening to the textile/garment industry? Why don’t we have these shops in the US? We look at these questions to examine the role of opportunity cost in our everyday decisions and how our choices influence the livelihoods of people on the other side of the world.

11.     Austrian Economic Thought (History of Economic Thought Series) Some economists believe that inflation is the worst thing in an economy, others that unemployment, a few believe that private property is evil. Throughout this series on economic thought we look at the different, most influential schools of thought in Economics and how they have influenced the world today.

12.     Health Economics. Why don’t we ever see prices in doctor’s offices? Is healthcare a product or a service? We look at these and other questions on how supply, demand and regulation have unexpected consequences in our health.

13.     FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and Regulation The effects that pre-market approval has on overall quality of treatment and availability of treatment options, causes distortions (good and bad) on the food and drug markets.

14.     Culture and Trade There are long lasting effects in societies as they trade, the questions that for long-time economists have asked are: Is there an optimal amount? Do we run the risk of all becoming the same and losing the regional uniqueness?

15.      Economics of Happiness We have all heard the phrase: Don’t promise when you’re happy or angry. We take a lookout the effects that our happiness has on the economy and how economics well-being has life altering effects on our happiness.

The Units in Development for early Summer 2018 are:

16.  Public Choice 1

17.  Public Choice 2

18.  Economics of Risk

19.  International Monetary System

20.  Game Theory