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Local Teachers Talk with Chairman Bernanke About Financial Literacy


ST. LOUIS – About 30 local educators on Tuesday heard from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about the importance of personal finance education in the wake of the financial crisis.

Gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for the teleconference event, they heard Chairman Bernanke talk about ways to use current economic events as material in their classrooms, about how educators can teach students about the way financial markets can sometimes work well, and sometimes not work so well, and about working with students to help them make a college education worth the investment.

Jennifer Macalady, who teaches math to Normandy High School students through the Special School District of St. Louis County, addressed Chairman Bernanke live via video from the St. Louis Fed. She asked him whether he thinks public schools should consider adding more economic and personal finance education to their classrooms.

Chairman Bernanke said he thinks an emphasis on those classes is important.

". . . If you think about what people do every day, what adults are required to do in terms of their managing their finances and preparing for retirement and all those things, economics and financial literacy are just critical parts of education.”

Pam Withers, a personal finance teacher from Riverview Gardens High School, was with Chairman Bernanke in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, along with a group of about 60 other teachers. She 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.

Macalady was grateful for the experience of speaking with Chairman Bernanke.

“It was nice to be able to connect with someone who is such a powerful figure in our economy,” she said. “I think it’s an honor.”

Mary Suiter, the Bank’s economic education officer, ran the event at the St. Louis Fed.

“I am thrilled that Chairman Bernanke brought attention to the importance of financial literacy and economic education and that he noted the Fed’s commitment to financial literacy and economic education,” she said.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is committed to providing economic and financial education tools for K-16 classrooms.

To watch a video of the "Conversation with the Chairman" event, visit