Local High School Students Try to Balance the Federal Budget

Any budget decision can prove to be a challenge, especially with the Federal Budget.  The Lou Frey Institute of Politics & Government at UCF recently hosted their Fall 2014 Symposium to help high school students examine the issues that the President’s Budget Supercommittee could not solve.

The event took place on Monday, September 29 at the UCF Alumni Center and was their 24th Symposium to date.  Local high school students attended to learn about the challenges of balancing the federal budget and the necessary information and background to understand the budget process.

Michael Johnson, Dean of the College of Sciences, and Congressman Lou Frey, Jr., kicked off the event with a welcome and introductory remarks.  In attendance were students from Spruce Creek High School, Satellite High School and Trinity Preparatory High School.

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Five former congressmen were in attendance, including Congressman Lou Frey, Jr., to engage these local high school students in our budget process.  Congressman Lou Frey, Jr. led a panel discussion with  Reverend John Allen Newman and former Congressmen:

Congressman Bill Zeliff (R-NH, 1990-1997) – Panel Moderator
Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA, 2007-2013)
Congressman Allen Boyd (D-FL, 1997-2011)
Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-FL, 1989-2013)
Congressman Tom Tauke (R-IA, 1979-1991)

A highlight of the symposium was the budget simulation, led by Chase Hagaman, New England Regional Director, The Concord Coalition; Marc Goldwein, Senior Policy Director, The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; the above mentioned former congressmen and the Reverend John Allen Newman.

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The students worked in teams and some friendly competition evolved.  Which team would be able to balance the budget most effectively?

They were given a workbook containing principles and priorities to consider in the budget.  Some considerations included how their decisions would affect the economy, affect public policy, and how the public would respond to their decisions.

After discussing these, they worked through an exercise to choose the options to include in their budget.  The options included items such as: creating of a universal pre-k program, developing a national infrastructure to support road improvement, funding for the national institute of health, eliminating human space exploration, and more.

Applause rang out in the room for the winning team in the budget simulation.  The team from Satellite High School was able to cut the budget by more than $3.5T!

The Symposium was a huge success and the students all learned a great deal about the budgeting process and the decisions that go into this process.

“Since 2003, the Lou Frey Institute Symposium has brought civil debate to challenging issues that are the forefront of the American public policy landscape.  The semi-annual symposiums provide opportunities for hundreds of high school and college students to interact with local, state and national leaders, including U.S. Members of Congress, as they explore critical issues facing the state and nation.” stated Doug Dobson, Executive Director, Lou Frey Institute.

The Lou Frey Institute of Politics & Government at UCF promotes the development of enlightened, responsible, and actively engaged citizens.  The Institute works to accomplish its mission through civic education programs, experiential learning programs, research, policy analysis and advocacy


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