Florida’s not so hot when it comes to teaching kids financial literacy
By Dian Vujovich
Oh dear. On the one hand there are numerous places in the Sunshine State where opulence and wealth are the way of the day. Then again, there are many more spots where modestly priced homes and incomes rule. But no matter what the socio-economic income level is, money is a must and learning about how to make and manage it is just as important for the rich as it is for those less financially fortunate. Too bad our schools don’t seem to be getting that message.
The Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College in Burlington, VT recently published a report that graded all 50 states across America on their efforts to teach high school students about financial literacy.
The results? Bad enough to send most states to detention for mis-financial-ed- behavior: 60 percent of the states got C, D, or F grades and only 40 percent an A or B.
Even Florida, where the super-wealthy are well aware that a rice-paddy-to-rice-paddy family financial situation frequently happens within three generations, got a crappy grade: D.
So, while there may be personal finance topics taught in K-12 here, there is no requirement that these class be taken and in high schools the subject is often an elective— not part of a must-take curriculum.
Of course I’m a big fan of financial literacy and think money lessons ought to be taught as soon as someone gives their little one their first dollar to spend.
Given that that’s not happening, I’m thinking our fine state could learn something from those that got an A. There were seven of them.
Here’s a snippet from the report about what an A-grade translated to:
Virginia, Utah, Tennessee and Missouri are the only states earning an A that require a one-semester standalone course in personal finance as a graduation requirement. Tennessee also requires that students be given an assessment on personal finance. Georgia, Idaho and Louisiana offer personal finance instruction as part of another course offering and they also require student assessments on financial literacy topics.
“In this category, all states have personal finance topics in their instructional guidelines, require local school districts to implement the guidelines, and require financial literacy instruction as a high school graduation requirement either as a standalone course or as part of another course offering. Some of these states also require that the course include a formal personal finance assessment test given to all students.”
Eleven states received a grade of F.
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