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If Economists Ran the Schools

The third episode of Freakonomics Radio, out in a few days, asks the question: What would the world look like if economists were in charge? In the meantime, a charter school organization in Arizona offers a glimpse at what the educational system would look like if economists were in charge. The BASIS Educational Group, run by two economists, requires every 8th-grade student to take a year’s worth of economics. Many BASIS students, who are all required to take at least six AP exams before graduation, go on to take AP Economics in 9th grade, and average a 4 (out of 5) on their AP exams. “Our students learn to love economics early on, and we hope that passion will continue long into life. Their interest in continuing economics study in high school (when it is no longer required, but rather offered as an elective) proves how fundamentally positive their early experience with the material is,” writes Paul Morrissey, the Upper School Director of BASIS Scottsdale. BASIS also offers incentive-heavy contracts to teachers; and all staff members are on one-year contracts.[%comments]