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Economics tied to education

It's never too early to teach young people about finance, especially considering the country's current economic status, and local schools and banks have taken on the challenge in an effort to produce a new generation of financially savvy individuals.

This is something that we have been focused on for longer than just this year, said Ellen Sax, vice president of community relations for Key Bank Foundation. "Financial education is something that our foundation has been focused on for seven or eight years now because we recognize how important it is to teach young people about their financial concerns."

The bank has put together a curriculum for high-school-age individuals and adults to teach them about managing their finances.

"We talk about managing your money, the differences between a debit card and a credit card and really how to manage your finances," said Sax.

The curriculum, which is offered through schools or at a bank branch for an individual, also covers how to understand a checking account and why it's important to establish credit, as well as why people should avoid check-cashing facilities.

"We really break it out in modules so the young adults can understand," said Sax.

Area schools are also working to help teens learn how to manage money.

In Mohonasen Central School District and Schalmont Central School District, students are learning, through hands-on activities as well as classroom instruction, lessons about the current economic situation, how to apply for credit cards and jobs, and how to budget themselves.

"Some of the tools we have used to [discuss the country's economic situation] are MSNBC, where we can we can take live clips and share them in class, Upfront magazine " it's a student publication of the New York Times, and its last two [issues] have been focused on finance and the economic downturn," said Bronson Knaggs, a high school social studies and economics teacher at Schalmont Central School District.

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