Best and worst states for the subject every school should be teaching

The best and worst states for finance education

“Students with some exposure to economic thinking will be more likely to conceptualize their spending on postsecondary education as an investment in their own human capital,” said Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, at the August teacher town hall.

Understanding the importance of finance literacy, especially considering the report found that “students from states where a financial education course was required were more likely to display positive financial behaviors and dispositions,” many states require student testing in personal finance education. These states include: Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, Colorado, and the District of Columbia.

All six states (includes D.C.)  include personal finance education in their K-12 standards and these standards are then implemented throughout all school districts. All states require student testing in this subject as well.

Georgia, Missouri, and Texas are especially noteworthy, as these three states also require a high school course to be offered and require all students to complete this course.

However, California, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, and Alaska not only do not require testing on personal finance, no courses are offered and no standards on personal finance literacy are currently implemented.

Snapshot of the best and worst states for personal finance literacy.


Snapshot of the best and worst states for personal finance literacy. See the full map here.

“The 17 states that require a personal finance course today represent only about 40 percent of the U.S. population,” said Morrison. “That’s a huge gap and we need to close it. We must expand our high school curricula and then provide our teachers with the tools they need to help students develop these essential real-world skills.”

(Next page: Recommendations and teacher confidence)

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