Concord and the Grassroots: Updates to Our Classroom Budget Exercises

Blog Post
Friday, October 24, 2008

One way the Concord Coalition has attempted to highlight the importance of fiscal responsibility and the choices involved in being fiscally responsible is by establishing a series of educational exercises. These exercises allow citizens at the grassroots level, whether as part of town hall meetings with their members of Congress or as students in the classroom, to learn in a group setting that takes advantage of the interactions with people of different generations or different ideological or political backgrounds.

We rely on an experienced network of field staff around the country who lead these exercises in person and help teachers learn how to facilitate the exercises themselves.

The most popular exercise from this collection is "Principles and Priorities" which is designed to help high school, college, and graduate students learn about the competing pressures facing members of Congress in budgeting over the next 10 years. The students gain exposure to current policy options that Congress often debates, while getting a sense of the political and time pressures that arise legislative sessions. A new exercise called "Debt Busters " is a condensed version of "Principles and Priorities" designed for use primarily in High Schools. And, we offer our "Penny Game" which can be used for elementary and high school students who want to learn the basics about where we get and spend our tax dollars.

We hope to continually develop these exercises. In order to properly do so, we encourage anyone who has participated to send us feedback about their experience.

--Josh Gordon