Failing Econ 101

If I had any doubts whatsoever about the pitiful state of economic literacy in this country, yesterday provided a perfect example. I was reviewing a paper submitted by a student to one of our faculty members. He had given her a poor grade, and she argued that she deserved higher marks. I am the Program Director, so grade appeals come to me. The paper was filled–as all too many are these days–with grammatical errors, but what really struck me was the student’s answer to the question: how can government encourage more citizens to become involved in policy deliberations? The response? By reducing taxes and providing more government services.

I rest my case. (Excuse me while I go slit my wrists….)


  1. As a graduate student taking Econ for the third time (high school, undergrad and now graduate school), it frustrates me a bit that we don’t spend much time at all discussing macroeconomic theories, the history of economic thought, economic policy implications and trends and how they affect (and are affected by) everyday life. I find economics fascinating, but tend to get really bogged down in the econometrics.

    While I therefore understand when I hear students grumble about “hating economics” I do think it’s sad. Maybe it’s time to revisit our approach to teaching economics?

  2. The more I hear about the state of modern student writing the more I fear for the state of my own writing. I think I’m going to stop by your office and talk to you before I submit my graduate school application. I always hope that my writing is of high quality when I submit it for grade.

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