At town hall meeting, Bernanke stresses teachers' important role

At town hall meeting, Bernanke stresses teachers' important role

Fed Chairman Ben BernankeEducators nationwide gathered on Sept. 30, 2010, for a "Conversation with the Chairman," a town hall meeting featuring Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. During the hour-long event, Bernanke spoke to teachers and answered their questions via videoconference.

At the Atlanta Fed, Bernanke's remarks were part of an all-day workshop called "Teaching Financial Crises." Presented in partnership with the Georgia Council on Economic Education, the workshop included lessons developed by the Council for Economic Education on financial panics in the United States, manias and bubbles throughout world history, and the Fed's monetary policy during the recent crisis. Other Reserve Banks and branches across the Federal Reserve System held similar events.

Speaking from the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., Bernanke stressed the important role of educators in preparing students to make important financial decisions. "Students need a solid understanding of the benefits and risks of borrowing money to buy a car or home and of the effect that too much credit card debt can have on their finances," he said. "Besides improving their personal financial decisionmaking, teaching your students economic principles will help them as citizens understand and make choices about many of the critical issues confronting our nation."

Bernanke took questions from the audience of about 80 educators at the Board of Governors as well as those watching from 34 Reserve Bank and branch locations around the country. The questions covered a wide range of topics—from how households can balance spending and saving to the most important lesson young people can take away from the crisis. In response to a question from math teacher Nancy Wiener of Miami, Fla., about the greatest challenges facing the Fed, the chairman pointed to two in particular: the central bank's shared responsibility to support the economic recovery and the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. The long-term challenges are harder to define, Bernanke noted, but he stressed the importance of maintaining the Fed's independence.

For more information about Bernanke's conversation with educators, see the video recording.

By Lela Somoza, staff writer

November 18, 2010