MOUNTHOLLY, N.C. -- Kids in one area math class are getting a crash course in budgeting long before they enter the real world.

Sixth graders at Mount Holly Middle are enrolled in a special program offered by investment management company Vanguard.

It's called Classroom Economy, and students say it's better than a text book. Each student applies for and is hired for a job, some are custodians, others bankers, still others computer supervisors.

They each get a paycheck, but they have to manage their accounts. Students pay $300 dollars for their desk, and they're fined when they talk out in class or forget their homework.

Mrs. Messer, the teacher behind the idea, holds an auction each month. Students bid on certain coveted items, but have to be sure they have enough money in their account to afford it.

We learn about having a job and how it's going to be when we grow up and so we're a little more prepared for it, said student Rachel Bynum.

Teachers say the program helps students understand how their parents budget. The hope is that they use these skills long after the sixth grade.

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