George Lucas Educational Foundation

Financial Literacy: Making Sense of Dollars and Cents

The economic crisis signals that schools need to get in the business of teaching money matters.
Edutopia Team
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Credit: Wesley Bedrosian

Every day, headlines bring us troubling news of our increasingly fragile and faltering economy. The largest collapse of financial institutions since the Great Depression ricochets across the globe, as investors, politicians, and homeowners scramble to make ends meet over expanding chasms of debt.

When the economy rides and stumbles on $700 billion promises -- and pocket money vanishes with a few clicks of a mouse -- it becomes increasingly urgent to teach young people the basic survival skills of personal finance. It is today's students who will pay for yesterday's poor choices. Their journey through a slowing economy will be greatly enhanced by learning how to spend wisely, maintain good credit, and take out safe, reasonable loans.

In this special report, Edutopia has gathered a variety of insights and tools on financial education that will equip your students for the years ahead. From student entrepreneurship to student-run credit union branches, the topics in this collection of articles and other resources cover hands-on activities and real-world projects in economics, money management, and business skills. Here's hoping little Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- with some early lessons learned -- won't repeat their parents' mistakes.

Comments (24) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Pamela D. Pitts's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that we need to do a better job of improving students' financial awareness and money management skills. I am a financial literacy entrepreneur and I have developed a financial wellness tool. Please see

This tool was discussed recently on the Comic Book Page podcast. The link to the podcast is If you go to episode 101 and minute marker 42:20 you will be able to listen to an 8 minute discussion regarding the tool.

Just trying to make a difference in the area of financial literacy.

Magali's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I think some of our leadership could use a bit of training in financial literacy.

Amy Hewitt's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thank you a pleasant read, interesting and informative.

FinancialTales's picture

Thanks for the article.

I run the Financial Tales blog, , and wanted to offer a few of my Financial Tales, written specifically for your audience, as lessons.

If there is anything I can do to promote or help, let me know.


john.britto's picture

A situation in which bank runs are widespread is called a systemic banking crisis or just a banking panic. A situation without widespread bank runs, but in which banks are reluctant to lend, because they worry that they have insufficient funds available, is often called a credit crunch. In this way, the banks become an accelerator of a financial crisis.

Pinar's picture

A penny saved is a penny earned," said Benjamin Franklin more than 200 years ago. Franklin's wisdom holds true just as much today as it did then. Though it can be a difficult concept for adults to abide by, it is one we can begin instilling in our children at an early age. Teaching the concepts of earning, spending, saving, borrowing and sharing sets the stage for a lifelong appreciation of money.

Dawn's picture
Computer Lab Assistant, Laird School

I made a powerpoint that I show the students teaching the financial value of an education. I also go over counting money as I have found that students in some grade levels (5th grade on up) don't remember how to count coins and dollars. I then teach them how to count change correctly. Then we go into the basics of savings accounts, checking accounts and credit. I use web sites for all of this that I have on the delicious account for the school.

Malini Hoover's picture

We recently launched a website, The Teen Entertainment & Life Skills Multimedia Network just to address the current void in life skills for teens. If our children do not learn about money, career, health and lifestyle early in life then they end up with debt, undecided majors and unhealthy lifestyles. We take 12 years to teach math & science in our classrooms but we don't spend same time to prepare our children for life skills. As a parent I took the step to create a positive media platform to address this issues by using multimedia, entertainment and interactive format to inform teens. Teachers can use our site to show the positive message we offer and use the multimedia like comics and videos to provide important life skills to the students. It is absolutely free for Teacher, Parents & students.

Daniel Britton's picture

Thanks for a great article.
Many of the habits and beliefs around money are developed in early childhood in the home. Which is why we believe that Financial Education should begin before high school.
A great range of resources for financial literacy for kids have a look at The Financial Fairy Tales (

Shane's picture

Another resource for entrepreneurship and financial literacy information is the Kauffman Foundation.

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