Lee Jimenez, a teacher at Indian Hill Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio, uses the online financial education curriculum SmartPath to discuss credit cards and payment methods in her third grade class.

smart pass

Momentum is growing to legislate individual financial education in many states across the country.

Nearly half of the states already require such instruction, and more may pass legislation this year to ensure that students, especially those at the high school level, receive it before graduating. there is.

John Pelletier, director of the Financial Literacy Center at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, said:

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, progress in personal financial education had stalled, he said. But amidst the pandemic-induced layoffs and ensuing economic recession, it became clear that financial literacy was critically important for students.

“It’s a catastrophe that seems to push these bills,” Peletier said.

New Jersey Launches New Online Financial Literacy Initiative

who is next

According to the nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance, Georgia is likely to be the next state to meet the requirements for personal financial education.

Both houses of the State Legislature passed Bill SB 220, which requires all high school students to take at least half a credit in financial literacy courses to graduate, beginning in the 2024-25 school year. The bill will become law pending the governor’s signature.

South Carolina may also soon pass legislation to mandate personal financial education. The state has Bill S16, which is currently on the Board of Congress. If Georgia’s bill becomes law, South Carolina will be the only state in the Southeast that doesn’t require personal finance classes, according to Tim Lanzetta, co-founder of Next Gen Personal Finance.

“I think there is an element. [fear of missing out] It’s happening interstate,” Lanzetta said.

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Michigan may also move forward with legislation in the coming months. A bill that would require a half-credit personal finance course at the end of high school passed her state House of Representatives in December and is set to be taken up by the state Senate in May.

In Minnesota, the omnibus education bill will require freshmen in high school, starting in the 2023-24 school year, to take at least half a credit of personal finance courses to graduate. And in New Hampshire, the education bill includes personal finances in the list of what constitutes a proper education.

Overall, 23 US states require some form of personal financial education, according to a 2022 state survey by the Economic Education Council. And while 47 states have personal finance language in their state education standards, many states don’t have a required course.

Next Gen Personal Finance says 12 states have so far met the gold standard for personal finance education.

Popular courses of study

Data shows that students and their parents want more personal financial education available in public schools.

According to Next Gen Personal Finance, more than 80% of those surveyed in California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and South Carolina support taking a financial literacy course.

In many states, bills are passed with bipartisan support and are often overwhelmed by both sides of the political landscape. In Florida, for example, a bipartisan bill passed unanimously in his March.

“This is one of those common sense issues that cuts across parties,” Lanzetta said.

what’s next

Some parents say it’s their responsibility, not the school’s, to teach their children about money. However, very few people have that job, and many parents do not have adequate personal financial education on their own.

As such, it is up to state boards of education to include individual financial education in legislation.

By 2022, 26 states will have introduced 61 bills on personal financial education, according to Next Gen Personal Finance. Of those, 47 bills in 20 states are still in force and may one day become law.

In addition to encouraging legislation mandating financial literacy courses, advocates are looking at the quality of each proposed bill and whether they include teacher training. This is an important piece of the puzzle. Because students need qualified teachers who have the confidence to explain finance.

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“Teachers want to be trained in personal finance, so they can give their students the best possible experience,” said Michael Scheffer, education director at the FoolProof Foundation, which offers a free financial education curriculum to students and teachers. We can do it,” he said.

The growing interest in personal finance courses has helped provide more and better quality education for teachers, and this trend is likely to continue, he said.

According to Sheffer, they’re on track to make that happen.

“This is now a snowball running downhill and getting bigger and bigger,” he said.

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