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FSNet News #19 -- November 7, 2000


1 Announcements:

1.1 Financial Services FutureCareers Expo Update

2 Issues & Best Practices:

2.1 The WASC/STC Connection

3 Resources:

3.1 The Business/Social Studies Connection
3.2 Implementing Critical Thinking
3.3 Real World Taxation Issues


__1.1 Financial Services FutureCareers Expo Update

This powerful work-based learning opportunity for students and teachers has been rescheduled for May 2, 2001. So far we have over 400 signed up for the event. The event will be held at Pac Bell Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants and activities will include a pre-conference tour of the facilities.

The focus of the event is to provide an opportunity for students to learn about lifelong learning in the financial services industry. Representatives from Wells Fargo Bank, Washington Mutual, Bank of America, Charles Schwab Company, and many others will be presenting the type of training that they provide to their own employees. Some of the topics include leadership, performance appraisals, minority advancement/recruitment programs, investment trends, and an insurance auto rating simulation. We will also have individuals from the financial services industry share their experiences through career panels that are designed to give students an opportunity to learn about career opportunities and what it takes to succeed. In addition, a panel of undergraduate and MBA students will share their business school experiences.

In the afternoon, industry will be recruiting for current openings and providing information about their college recruitment process. This will be an excellent opportunity for students to participate in informational interviews. They will have an opportunity to get feedback on their interviewing techniques and their resumes while learning about the industry and individual firms. Several colleges will provide information about their business schools, the application process, and financial aid.

While the students are involved with the industry and college recruitment fair, teachers can participate in professional development opportunities in the areas of financial literacy, program building, and network with their peers.

If you would like more information, contact Wesley Leung at or call (408) 938-1516.


__2.1 The WASC/STC Connection

Accreditation is one of the few things virtually every member of the school community is concerned about. Yet often we in School-to-Career (STC) fail to capitalize on the fact that STC is a very viable and comprehensive strategy that can be used to implement the principles that WASC expects schools to implement. Furthermore, recent studies are validating the efficacy of STC as a restructuring strategy and future State and Federal funds are being tied to a schoolís adopting the principles embraced by STC (New American High School initiative). The following is a brief outline of some of the ways STC can be used to satisfy WASC requirements.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation process, "Focus on Learning," is about determining the extent to which students are achieving and schools are supporting high achievement for all its students. Schools are required to demonstrate their studentsí ability to "exhibit a culmination of their learning in a real world context that has significant purpose and meaning for them and others over time" -- STC is about providing that real world context!

The self-study process asks schools to assess its progress in five areas:

  1. Vision, Leadership and Culture
  2. Curricular Paths
  3. Powerful Teaching and Learning
  4. Support for Student Personal and Academic Growth, and
  5. Assessment and Accountability.
STC provides a comprehensive strategy for addressing each of these areas, but is especially applicable to Curricular Paths. STC provides a comprehensive formula for addressing the following WASC rubric criterion for the Curricular Paths area:

  1. All students choose an organized program around a special focus that combines academic, applied academic, and field experiences. Integrated programs are designed to meet college entrance requirements, while also providing students with career-related technical and practical skills. A variety of school-based, work-based, and connecting activities are provided to ensure that all students meet all standards and achieve the expected schoolwide learning results.

  • All students enroll in sequences of courses that prepare them for success in post-secondary education and career-technical preparation. The curriculum and course sequences, many with career themes or links to community resources, build on the knowledge and proficiencies in the academic foundation. Instructional staff work collaboratively with community resources to continuously improve the curriculum and actively involve students in learning that is relevant and rigorous. The school community actively participates in partnerships with post-secondary institutions and industry in order to encourage and support all students in seeking higher education and professional career opportunities. As a result of these partnerships, students receive technical training and have opportunities to explore post-secondary options and understand the relationship between current course work, future career opportunities, and their own academic performance. Community partners, including business, serve as consultants who collaborate with the school to connect student outcomes with a real-world curriculum.
  • The criteria described above are used by visiting teams to assess the quality of each schoolís "Focus on Learning." Each of these criteria can be addressed individually through a number of different methods, but can be more systematically addressed with a schoolwide STC implementation. By explaining STC within the context of WASC you can elevate the perception of your efforts from a program that serves a limited student population to a schoolwide reform effort.

    BaySCAN would be happy to provide technical assistance to schools interested investigating or implementing STC based strategies. We can present a PowerPoint presentation to STC teams, WASC committees, site administration, district administration, or school boards. Please feel free to if you have any questions or would like more details.


    __3.1 The Business/Social Studies Connection

    An article titled "Economic Scene: Donít Underestimate the Governmentís Role in Building the Economy," by Jeff Madrick, of the NY Times, dated Sept. 28, 2000 looks at one of the core ideological differences between Gore and Bush--the role of government. Madrick looks at the history of government intervention in private markets by examining the core assumption that differentiates Gore and Bush, the belief that government is either more or less efficient than the private sector in providing goods and services to the public. Madrick lists the benefits of initiatives like building the national system of roads under the Jefferson administration, the states investment in canals in the 1820ís, the development of public education in the 1850ís and many other public programs to look at the return on public investment.

    In order to evaluate the underlying assumption, it is helpful to know how whether or not "markets" are efficient. In many cases and for several reasons, markets are not efficient. If we look at public education as an example, when a private school and an individual family come to an agreement about the quality of education to be provided and the tuition for this service, both are able to determine their respective cost and benefits that result from the transaction and make their decision. Because both parties have the ability to make an informed decision, this would normally be considered an efficient transaction from an economic perspective. However, there are third party cost and benefits associated with the transaction that have efficiency implications. Clearly, society benefits greatly by having a highly educated population. This social benefit is the basis for government intervention in an otherwise private transaction. The governmentís investment in public education provides benefits in excess of what a purely private market could provide. Madrick argues that government intervention in private markets is not automatically bad and in many cases throughout history has produced significant social benefits.

    These same economic principles can be used to make connections between U.S. History, economics, government, and other subjects with business in general and the financial services industry specifically. As an example, externalities (third party cost and/or benefits) can be used as a perspective to study the events of history, as well as the developments within the plot of a novel or play. Having students taking on a third party perspective not only accentuates critical thinking in the curriculum, but also adds a real world perspective when tied to current issues in industry.

    Please . Also, let us know if you would like a copy of this article.

    __3.2 Implementing Critical Thinking

    We can all point to pieces of our curriculum as examples of how we are teaching critical thinking, but how systematic are we at including a wide variety of both critical thinking strategies and activities. The Center for Critical Thinking has created a wealth of information including instructional guides and lesson plans to help educators implement critical thinking in every aspect of their teaching. Check out their teacher resource page at If you only look at one thing, check out the "Strategy List." It describes 35 strategies that can be used to teach critical thinking. For those of you at schools with ESLRs like "students will be creative and critical thinkers," these descriptions can be used as starting points for developing rubrics.

    __3.3 Real World Taxation Issues

    Tax theory can be a pretty dry topic. Hal Varianís, October 19, 2000, NY Times article "Economic Scene: Tax Cuts May Be Fashionable, but Now's a Good Time to Raise Gas Taxes" is a great real world application of taxation theory. It includes a discussion about two topics that tend to be near and dear to our students -- cars and the environment. Varian ties to make the case that now is a good time for the U.S. to increase the gas tax. What a great real world problem students could use to study taxation.

    if you have any feedback and/or would like a copy of this article.

    You are reading the Web archive of the BaySCAN Financial Services Network mail list. Questions, comments, and submissions should be directed to:

    Wesley Leung, Coordinator
    [email protected] (email)
    408-938-1516 (phone)
    408-271-7214 (fax)