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St. Louis-Area Teachers Hear from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke


ST. LOUIS – About 30 local educators will get a chance this week to participate in a discussion with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about the importance of personal finance education in the wake of the financial crisis.

A personal finance teacher from Riverview Gardens High School will head to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to participate with Chairman Bernanke and teachers from around the country, while about 30 St. Louis-area teachers will take part in the discussion via teleconference from the downtown headquarters of the St. Louis Fed. Pamela Withers, the Riverview Gardens teacher, and the educators participating through teleconference will have a chance to ask the chairman questions related to financial literacy. The event will take place at 1 p.m. CT.  Members of the media who want to attend the St. Louis teleconference should contact media relations specialist Laura Girresch at 314-444-6166 or

“Making economic education available to the public is a priority for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis,” said Mary Suiter, the Bank’s economic education officer. “We believe all students should have the opportunity to graduate with basic financial capability skills in hand.”

The educators participating in the local teleconference will come from several school districts: Clayton, Ferguson-Florissant, Mehlville, the Special School District of St. Louis County and St. Louis Public Schools. Others will come from Lutheran High School, Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

Video footage of an interview with Withers will be available before the event, and b-roll footage filmed at the D.C. session will be available after the event upon request.

Other groups of teachers also will watch Chairman Bernanke’s discussion from the St. Louis Fed’s branch offices in Little Rock, Ark. and Memphis, Tenn., plus other Fed offices around the country.

Withers was chosen from a pool of St. Louis-area educators whose students enrolled in and completed at least one of the St. Louis Fed’s  free online economic education courses during the spring semester this year.

The St. Louis Fed offers free downloadable lesson plans, interactive whiteboard activities and online courses for classrooms ranging from elementary school to college. About 65,000 students from 50 states have enrolled in the St. Louis Fed’s online education programs since 2010. Materials are also available to help the general public understand anything from personal finance to the overall economy.

Withers is excited about the event and to hear Chairman Bernanke’s message.

“I absolutely, 100 percent think that personal finance is an excellent class for students to have,” she said. “Not only is it a state requirement, but it’s also a life requirement. … I wish I would have had it.”

For additional information about the St. Louis Fed’s Economic Education resources, see