The State of Economic and Personal Finance Education on our Nation’s Schools

POSTED: March 12, 2012 | BY: Leslie Rasimas | TAGS: , , ,

NEW YORK, March 12, 2012 – The Council for Economic Education (CEE), in collaboration with the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, today released its seventh Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools.  The biennial report brings attention to the critical importance of eco­nomics and personal finance education by documenting its status in the fifty states and the District of Columbia. The 2011 survey shows that while there has clearly been progress since the first survey in 1998, that over the last two years, the trend is slowing and in some cases moving backward.

“While many states have addressed this gap in education curriculum, there is still a large segment of the American K-12 student population that is not being exposed to economic and financial education,” said CEE President & CEO Nan J. Morrison.

The recent economic downturn has brought nationwide attention to the dangers of a financially illiterate society.  “It is imperative that we close the gap, and that we provide the educators with the knowledge, tools, and teaching skills they need to help children develop these essential real world skills.  Educator training and assessment are imperative. Business leaders, media representatives, educators and parents must demand that their children graduate from school with an understanding of basic economic and financial concepts, and key decision makers and policy makers must listen and act,” continued Morrison.

In economic education, the survey shows that 22 states now require students to take an economics course as a high school graduation requirement (up from 21 in 2009). However, only 16 states require the testing of student knowledge in Economics, three fewer than in 2009 (19).

Personal finance education is not required nearly as often as economics.  Thirteen states require students to take a personal finance course (or personal finance included in an economics course) as a high school graduation requirement. These 13 states make up approximately 25% of the entire U.S. population, which means almost 75% of Americans have not received financial literacy education to date.

Funding for the 2011 survey was provided by the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, whose mission is to promote economic understanding to all for greater happiness and prosperity.

“Since 1947 the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation has supported greater economic literacy thorough the support of materials, research and educational programs that help students and adults come to understand that the basics of our economics system and how to used economics as a method of reasoning,” said Michael MacDowell, Managing Director of the Foundation. “This report outlines the status of economics requirements in the nation’s schools.  As such, it provides a benchmark for states and school districts who wish to work harder to assure that economic literacy is part of every student’s education.”

The 2011 Survey of the States report is available here.

About the Council for Economic Education
The Council For Economic Education educates children about the real world through lessons in economics and personal finance so that they can make informed and responsible choices throughout their lives as consumers, investors, citizens, and participants in the global economy.  CEE closes the knowledge gap by supporting better and greater school-based K-12 economic and personal finance education through well-prepared teachers.  Each year the CEE’s programs reach more than 55,000 K-12 teachers and approximately 5 million students in the United States.

About The Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation

The principles of the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation were laid down in 1947 by Mr. Kazanjian, the Founder of Peter Paul; maker of Almond Joy.  An entrepreneur and a caring manager, Mr. Kazanjian knew that the prosperity of the country and that of any enterprise or community lay in people’s knowledge and use of basic economics principles and concepts to their lives.  As an Armenian immigrant and successful businessman, he understood that an economics literate public was the best assurance of the continued viability of his new country.  He believed that “industry, agriculture, labor and government could work together to create the greatest happiness for all.”

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