In a recent poll, 31 percent of adults surveyed did not know what the letters I-R-A meant.
The problem, says mutual-fund company American Century Investments, is that just 16 states require schools to offer an economics course.
Meanwhile, only 13 states include economics or personal-finance courses as a graduation requirement.
So, in a proactive move, American Century developed a community service program based on finance and investment education. The 10-week curriculum, called "Tips for Kids," is aimed at middle-school students.
The program will be provided free to any school in the country and includes the full curriculum, a videotape introduction, and posters to hang in the classroom. Investor Relations Representatives also are available by phone or e-mail to help teachers with the curriculum.
Students will learn about money systems, money managing, investing, and operating a business.
The program also integrates math, social studies, and language arts, and supports the national education standards for middle-school students.
To order the "Tips for Kids" curriculum, call 800-345-2021, ext. 5151 or visit the Web site (www.tips4kids.com).
By the way, for those still wondering, IRA stands for individual retirement account. (If you guessed Irish Republican Army, we'll cut you some slack.)
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society