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Economics is already a graduation requirement for all high school seniors in California. In my classes finance has always been taught with a culminating activity of students doing a detailed budget for their first year on their own.
Given the current financial issues, it is imperative that financial education and responsibility be an ongoing part of elementary, middle and high school curriculum. With stable pension plans and funding in question for future generation, what would be wrong with establishing personal savings accounts for children to add to throughout their school career; to manage it, watch it grow, calculate interest, experience and actually learn the benefits and problems associated with good and bad credit records. Why is this such a difficult question for educators?
While parents “should” teach this things, most of them don’t because many of them are not practicing the behaviors themselves. We learn what we see and do, not what we’re told.
We teach financial literacy in the required course called Consumer Education or Resource Management that is required for a semester by the state. I agree with this requirement. I just wish it was a year long instead of a semester.
I think that not doing so is a HUGE injustice to today’s “Give Me” generation. Value and Budgeting Skills are needed, yet not modeled for most young people today. I also agree, that it needs to be taught to both Primary and Secondary schools.
Personal finance is more important now than ever. With money changing hands and lots of plastic it is far too easy to just trust others. An important part of this course, scams and how to identify them. Other things would include balancing and checking your bank accounts and credit cards, how to deal with PayPal and other online accounts, issues with online buying and selling, how to find and read your credit report, how to report possible identity theft, how to evaluate stocks and bonds (set up one of those for fun portifolios). This would NOT be just a course on save your money.
I have to say that without the will there is no way….
Both my sister and I took the required home economics course, more than just baking, a year apart. We both grew up, only 20 months apart, in the same house, with the same allowance, with the same two parents and the same rules. We had almost all the same experiences.
My younger sister emerged from our upbringing with a sound understanding of money and saving and financial planning. I, sadly, did not. I am only now, at age 32, beginning to understand what it means to budget and how to create one. Next step, learning to live by it.
Sadly mine has been a trial by fire, but the education was there…why didn’t it stick?
I don’t think mandating financial courses is going to solve anything.
It would be nice to add that into other classes but I can’t imagine adding one more requirement to the high schools. As it is, too many students are being denied the opportunity to take the electives they would like to because they are forced to take courses that others have decided are important for them (and somehow these all fall into certain categories and are never in the arts, vocational arts or foreign language departments). Too many students are becoming disconnected with the schools because we are only focusing on certain academic areas and ignoring those with gifts or interestes in other fields.
Personal finance should be offered as an elective course. Currently, some personal finance is included in the JROTC curriculum. The mission of JROTC is “To motivate young people to be better citizens”. I believe it is an appropriate fit.