Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship
Arsht Hall, Wilmington
October 11, 2011

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I’m thrilled to be here to help the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship celebrate 40 long years dedicated to fostering financial, economic, and entrepreneurial literacy among Delaware’s youth. I thank David Lyons and the Delaware Council on Economic Education for their invaluable partnership. And I congratulate Jim O’Neill, and the Center’s faculty and staff, for being able to mark such an impressive milestone.

Importance of Economic Education
The Center’s longevity speaks volumes about the importance of its efforts; about the enduring benefit of teaching children from a young age how the market economy works; and what their role is as consumers and citizens and taxpayers.

Of course, while these lessons are timeless, they seem especially urgent right now. Without doubt, many children are experiencing the effects of this recession. They suffer the uncertainty that comes when a parent loses his or her job. They feel the stress of losing their homes, of watching their families try to maintain a standard of living with fewer resources, and making tough choices among wants and needs that—just a short time ago—were filled without a second thought. Younger children who have only a flimsy grasp of economic principles can certainly understand what deprivation feels like.

What economic and financial literacy does is help them find control in a situation that seems out of control. They learn that they can make good consumer choices. They can invest wisely, and spend prudently. They can assess entrepreneurial opportunities, and increase the odds of a venture’s success. They can forge a path toward financial security.

And, ultimately, they can extrapolate these lessons to the macro level; examine the interaction of countries, governments, and financial institutions in the global economy; explore trade within the context of politics and policy, history, and geography. These are critical skills. (Think about the crash course that many Americans just got in global financial markets.) Really understanding these things requires deep knowledge and nuance—and the chance to put both into practice.

This is where the work of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship has had such impact. Because of the Center, Delaware has rigorous and well-articulated content standards in economics, good instructional materials supporting them, and effective assessments based on them. Delaware has teachers who are well prepared to teach economics, entrepreneurship, and personal finance, and can deliver lessons that engage and resonate.

Delaware has students who are given the chance to put their skills to work: creating mini-economies, launching products and businesses, investing in the stock market, managing their assets. Because of 40 years of hard work, this content is well-represented in Delaware’s curriculum, and has a life in its classrooms. It’s made our young people better consumers, better investors, better entrepreneurs. It’s made them less susceptible to financial insecurity; more aware of our national economic policy; and more informed, more participatory citizens who—by their votes and their advocacy—can help shape that policy.

This is a critically important legacy, one that has benefited generations of students and—because of that—the nation’s economy as a whole. I congratulate you all.

Introduction of Mike Castle
There’s no one better equipped to address the importance of economic education than our next speaker. I think every time I’ve introduced Governor Castle, I’ve introduced him as a man who needs no introduction. And then I go ahead and do it anyway. Tonight will be no different.

Mike Castle is a former deputy attorney general, state legislator, lieutenant governor, two-term governor and nine-term U.S. representative. In Congress, Rep. Castle served on the House Intelligence Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the banking, securities, and insurance industries. He chaired the Subcommittee on Domestic and Monetary Policy, and sat on the Capital Markets and Financial Institutions Subcommittee.

Rep. Castle was instrumental in the writing and passing of the Balanced Budget Act and—in a serendipitous intersection of the mission we celebrate tonight—the No Child Left Behind Act. He is now a partner with the law firm DLA Piper.

Please help me welcome the Honorable Mike Castle.

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