3 steps to implementing a 21st-century financial education curriculum

Effective and accessible financial education has historically been absent in U.S. schools. Outdated instructional practices and a lack of standards have made it difficult for teachers to easily incorporate this crucial topic in the classroom.

According to a 2016 study by LendEDU, more than half of 18- to 24-year-olds wish they’d taken a personal finance course in high school. Unfortunately, not every state has a requirement that students take some form of a financial education course prior to graduating.

As the business education teacher at Niles North High School (NNHS) in Illinois, I’m passionate about ensuring that every child has access to an equitable and effective financial education curriculum. NNHS is one of the most diverse high schools in Illinois, with students who come from almost every corner of the globe and speak more than 70 different languages. I feel lucky that my state requires every student to complete a consumer education course, and I know the importance of providing a course that is up-to-date and applicable to the real world.…Read More

Teaching financial literacy: The bottom line

April is Financial Literacy Month, and while it’s always a great time to talk about financial literacy, April shines a big spotlight on my favorite topic! Not everyone will geek out about it like I do—and I’m okay with that—but we need to face some hard truths. Nearly one-fourth of millennials are spending more than they earn, college students are racking up record debt, and more and more people say they have less than three months’ worth of emergency funds. We have to teach the skills that will let students enjoy their earnings and look forward to financial security.

As a business and technology teacher dedicated to bright and secure futures for all my students, I’m really excited to see financial literacy being taken more seriously. Recently, I was part of a push to get a bill passed in Massachusetts that outlines financial literacy standards and stipulates that the classes be taught by qualified teachers. We are making progress!

Now, as more support is building at the state level, we have to make sure that teachers get the curricular resources they need to bring financial literacy into their classrooms. Programs like Discover and Discovery Education’s Pathway to Financial Success are great because they supply a variety of resources that teachers need to go beyond balancing a checkbook. (Does anyone write checks anymore?) From banking online to keeping an eye on your Venmo, building credit and understanding loans, the program offers a comprehensive set of financial literacy lessons that today’s students need to have.…Read More

What is your school doing to teach financial literacy?

I believe personal finance should be part of every American’s lifelong learning plan, from elementary school through and into adulthood. It’s that important.

In December, our center issued its third state-by-state report card on high school personal finance education. Report cards also were issued in 2013 and 2015.

Our report cards are among several advocacy efforts. We believe strongly that financial literacy among Americans is linked to positive outcomes like wealth accumulation, stock market participation, retirement planning, and avoiding high-cost alternative financial services like payday lending and auto title loans.…Read More

Gaming with a purpose – financial literacy

Okay, so one thing is clear: Youth are hooked on technology. Computers, smartphones, tablets, social media, video games… the list goes on, the Huffington Post reports. Mostly this connection is talked about with concern. ‘Should our children be spending so much time…?’ or ‘How does technology affect our youngsters?’. And this concern is of course something that always should be taken into account for this subject. We also want to raise a question from another angle: ‘Could youth’s hook on technology be used for a purpose?’ One of the goals of the Child and Youth Finance Movement is to ensure financial, social, and livelihood education for 100 million children and young people in 100 countries by 2015. And why do we want to do this, you might ask? Well, although the trend of education has been very positive (Girls and boys in developing countries are enrolling in secondary school in greater numbers than ever before), less than 1% of the worlds 2.2 billion children have access to financial education…

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Study: Most states don’t score well on financial literacy

Given the extraordinary amount of debt that Americans wallow in daily, you’d think that teaching financial literacy in school and at home would be a priority, the Washington Post reports. Guess again. A new study on the state of financial literacy programs in public schools ranks only 7 states with an A and 22 with a D or F. And it says that parents are no more comfortable talking to their kids about sex than they are about money, so young people aren’t learning about the subject at home, either. The study, which you can find here, was done by the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, which assigned grades to states for the quality of their financial literacy programs…

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Readers: Financial literacy is a school’s responsibility

"Someday very soon, these high school students will be adults in your community," said one reader.

In a time where budget cuts are the norm, student loan debt has reached an all-time high, and the economy shows slow improvement, a recent report reveals that few K-12 schools nationwide teach economics or financial literacy.

According to the Council for Economic Education report, titled “Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools 2011,” fewer than half of states require high school students to take an economics class, and fewer states now require high schools to offer financial literacy classes than in 2009, even though another report concluded that two-thirds of college students don’t understand the terms of their loans.

Many financial experts say that by not teaching financial literacy or even basic economics to high schoolers, schools are not preparing them for adulthood—and our readers seem to agree.…Read More