Monday, August 8, 2011

Student Section - Government and Economics - Opportunity Cost

School is starting, so students have officially begun learning again.  Those despondent over the loss of the "free time" of summer may wish they could postpone the end of the break despite the objections of their parents and teachers.  But in addition to being impossible, doing so would bring consequences.  As students of our Economics and Government course learn the meaning and application of the economic term opportunity cost, they may begin to view nothing, not even time, as being free.

Every time we choose to do something with our time, we are choosing not to do something else.  The same concept relates to the use of our money or any other resource that we may possess.  So postponing the resumption of school to gain more free time would actually cost students the knowledge they would otherwise gain by getting back to work in the classroom.  This is a simple and obvious example.  But citizens regularly confront equally straightforward decisions and often fail to make the seemingly simple connections.

In a recent survey,* two of three Americans said we should spend more money on our public schools.  But when asked if we should be taxed more money to pay the extra costs, two of three Americans opposed additional spending.  So the same adults who would appropriately advise students to return to school rather than extend the summer break allow themselves to be fooled into thinking that spending more money on our school system comes at no cost.  Hopefully our students will learn not to forget the commonly accepted, but less commonly applied, warning that there is no "free lunch."

*The details of the survey come from the following Wall Street Journal article:  Do We Really Need to Spend More on Schools?

The "Student Section" contains posts related to the Government and Economics course that Bob Cook teaches.  This first post relates to a part of the discussion during our first class session this morning.  To learn more about the educational offerings of the Augusta Metro Youth Foundation please contact Chad Cook:
706 550 2229

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