Abstract 6, Volume 8, Number 2, Summer 2013

Teaching the Federal Budget, Debt, and Deficit Through Civics Courses

Anand R. Marri, Scott Wylie, Robert Shand, Maureen Grolnick, Timothy J. Huth,  and Louise Kuklis

Teachers College

Columbia University


This project presents an opportunity for high school social studies teachers to infuse content on the federal budget, national debt, and budget deficit into civics-courses.  The federal budget influences countries’ decisions about domestic and foreign policy, making the study of the topic a necessity for understanding economic interdependence, as well as active and engaged citizenship. The national debt plays an important role in efforts to balance competing interests concerning taxes, entitlement programs, and government spending.  Social studies teachers have the opportunity to create connections between economic and public policies about the federal budget, national debt, budget deficit, and the content commonly taught in high school civics classes across the United States.  Our two-day lesson, Examining the role of citizens in the U.S. budgetary process: A case study, can be infused into the civics curriculum to help high school students begin to understand the federal budget, national debt, and budget deficit.  We model an inquiry-oriented approach for citizen participation about these topics in high school civics classes.

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