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EDUCATION REPORT - Teens Compete, Improve Their Financial Literacy 

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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

Business competitions can help young people learn about money
Business competitions can help young people learn about money

Business competitions for young people can be a good way to learn about economics and finance.

In Northern California, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship recently held a business plan competition. Seventeen-year-old Huong Cheng won first place and now goes on to the national level.

Her idea is for a business where high school students volunteer to do small tasks for old people. The families of the retirees would pay her company. Then the company would share the profits with school clubs that the students belong to.

Another competition, the National Economics Challenge, reached the finals last month in New York City. Sixteen students competed from four high schools in Alabama, California, Hawaii and Indiana.

They raced to answer questions on different subjects -- from personal finance to economic theory to current events. Teachers said the current problems in the economy offered a lot of examples to use in the classroom.

The nonprofit National Council on Economic Education has held the challenge for eight years with the Goldman Sachs Foundation. The winners and their teachers each received three thousand dollars in United States Savings Bonds.

Carmel High School from Indiana won the beginners division. Vestavia Hills High School in Alabama won the advanced division. Team member John Reinhardt says economics is a good way for young people to learn to make their own decisions.

Back in Northern California, a middle school in South San Francisco started a school bookstore this year. Students help operate the store. But mostly the goal is to help them improve their English skills and learn to love reading and literature.

Test scores at Parkway Heights Middle School have been very low for the last seven years. The students come largely from poor, Spanish-speaking families.

Two language arts teachers opened the bookstore in April with a choice of interesting books at good prices. Trish Issac and Swaicha Chanduri received money from Schoolwide, a group that helps schools set up bookstores.

Teachers hope the bookstore will be open more than one day a week, especially during summer vacation. The store may be competition for the school library. As one eighth grader noted, the bookstore has new books, and if you want to buy them, you can. Also, the library is very quiet, she says, while the bookstore "seems like a more social area."

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. I'm Jim Tedder.

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