Generation Z. Putting Personal Finance into the Classroom for
“When it’s mandated, everyone has access,” said Rebecca Maxci, director of the Financial Education Initiative at the University of Chicago.
Nan Jay Morrison, President and CEO of the Council on Economic Education, said progress among states is encouraging, but there is much more to do. Currently, only nine out of 23 states require personal finance to be taken as a stand-alone course. Others allow the subject to be combined with other classes, such as math or social studies, or provide students with other ways of opting out of the curriculum, which can lessen its impact.
Along with the new report, the council announced the creation of a coalition called FinEd50, along with a coalition of businesses and non-profit groups, to help promote “guaranteed access” to personal finance courses in all states. .
Here are some questions and answers about financial literacy education:
Do students not learn about personal finance as part of economics courses?
Sometimes. But the growth in the state’s requirements for economic education has stalled. Two years ago, 25 states required a high school curriculum in economics, and that number has not decreased, the Council for Economic Education found. And two states have recently considered removing the requirements for the study of economics.
“We are really concerned about this,” said Ms Morrison.
He said the council would take a closer look at why efforts to expand economics education have stalled. Students need an understanding of both economics and personal finance, he said, to “successfully navigate their lives” as individuals and as members of an increasingly complex society.
Is Financial Literacy Instruction Effective in High School?
What works is debated, with some studies suggesting that financial learning has a limited effect on behavior, or that students may get better just by learning more math. But recent research suggests that high school personal finance lessons can help young people make better financial decisions.
A study published in 2020 led by a researcher at Montana State University found that financial education needs were linked to fewer defaults and higher credit scores among young adults. And a 2019 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that it’s imperative to “significantly reduce” your chances of borrowing high-interest payday loans. Like any subject, Professor Lusardi said, effective instruction requires high-quality curriculum and well-trained teachers.
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