I'm thinking about Anyon's work while reading Terry Savage's piece, "Chicago kids learning to earn"in the business section of Monday's Chicago Sun-Times. It's all about a Chicago school winning the statewide Economics Challenge competition sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank and the Goldman Sachs Foundation. I'm glad a city school has won.
But it should be no surprise that the top finishers were an elite selective-enrollment Chicago school, Northside College Prep and an executive elite suburban school, Adlai Stevenson in upscale Lincolnshire. Economic theory is rarely taught in neighborhood inner-city Chicago high schools and these schools are seldom found in competitions such as this one.
The hidden curriculum is also embedded in the kinds of questions kids are asked during the competition. For example:
What's the most efficient way to solve the problem of pollution?
Correct answer: Tradeable pollution permits. (Among the wrong choices: environmental standards or outright bans.)
Gee, that was easy. To win, all you have to do is spit back this "correct answer." It's a win-win for the students and the corporations and the pollution problem is solved--efficiently.