As the national leader in the field of economic and financial literacy education, CEE works to promote legislation and education policies at the federal and state levels which will support high quality professional development programs for highly effective teachers, internationally competitive standards for student learning, and rigorous assessments and measurement criteria for both teachers and students that hold schools accountable for the achievement of all students. To attain these goals, CEE works with like-minded organizations at the national level to leverage our strengths and those of our partners and build a stronger voice to advocate for better and greater school-based instruction in economics and financial literacy.
CEE strongly believes that economic knowledge and financial literacy are core skills for college- and career-readiness. All students deserve the opportunity to develop the economic way of thinking before graduating high school. In the long run, CEE strives for high school course requirements in economics and personal finance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We publish a biennial report, the Survey of the States, that brings attention to the critical importance of economics and personal finance education by documenting its status in the United States. At the state level, CEE works with affiliated state councils to support advocacy efforts related to the development and implementation of standards and course requirements. We’ve created an Advocacy Tool Kit to help with those efforts.
2015 Advocacy Objectives
At the beginning of each calendar year CEE sets advocacy objectives that we seek to accomplish during the course of the year. In 2015, we intend to:
- Support specific state initiatives, including:
- Florida’s efforts to get a standalone financial literacy course requirement; and
- Rhode Island’s efforts to implement statewide standards in financial literacy following their 2014 adoption of CEE’s National Standards for Financial Literacy
- Shine a spotlight on the importance of economic and financial education during Financial Literacy Month by carrying out a host of activities throughout the country
- Complete the 2016 Survey of the States in order to meet a February 2016 launch
- Create targeted outreach to policymakers who are interested in improving economic and financial education at the state and federal level
- Continue to support various CFPB initiatives as they seek to advance financial education throughout the country
Virginia Leads the Way with a Course Requirement in Economics and Personal Finance
Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the Virginia Council on Economic Education, the class of 2015 was the first high school class to graduate in Virginia with a full credit in economics and personal finance. Virginia is one of just a handful of states that requires such a course and has prioritized equipping its students with the essential life skills to make informed decisions about buying, saving, investing, voting, and choosing a career. As one graduating senior wrote, “This was by far the most practical class ever offered at the high school level in my opinion; and should have been required a long time ago.” Daniel R. Mortenson, Executive Director of the Virginia Council on Economic Education, and Maurice A. Jones, the Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, celebrated Virginia’s role as a “national leader” in a joint op-ed in the Richmond Times. The two explained that “With quality teaching in these subjects, Virginia will have a competitive advantage with a workforce that is economically and financially literate.”
Advancing Financial Education in New York City
CEE continues to explain the compelling need for better economics education at the very highest levels of government and commerce, building support for our programs. In June 2015, the organization convened “Advancing Financial Education in New York City” at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, featuring Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, and John W. Rogers, Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, together with NYC leaders in economic and financial education and other members of the President’s Council. In his opening remarks, Secretary Duncan gave a special “thank you” to the “great teachers” of New York City and around the nation for their work. The discussion then centered on the need to scale existing successful programs, and the critical role of private-public partnerships in accomplishing that goal. Contributing to the conversation were Julie Menin, the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, who spoke about how NYC is providing financial empowerment to schools and parents, and NYC public school teacher Ruben Rivera, who spoke first-hand of the importance of teaching these essential “life skills.”
States Adopt CEE’s K-12 National Standards for Financial Literacy
CEE’s K-12 National Standards for Financial Literacy have been adopted by Florida and Rhode Island, providing a solid, assessable foundation for financial education in these states. Rhode Island became the second state in the U.S. to do so in November 2014 – and it was due in large part to the efforts of one group of students who decided to make a difference. Click here to read more about this group of East Greenwich students, and how they, along with Rhode Island Council for Economic Education’s President Margaret Brooks, raised the bar for financial literacy in their state.
CEE Launches the Senate Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus
On May 21, 2014, CEE hosted Senator Jack Reed (RI) and Senator Mike Enzi (WY) in Washington, DC, for a very exciting announcement: the official launch of the Senate Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, a bipartisan effort to ensure that all Americans are equipped with the essential skills and education they need. A panel of government, non-profit, and business leaders provided guidance on what role the federal government can and should play in supporting financial literacy education to help inform the mission of the new caucus. Senator Reed stressed the importance of bringing people from all sides together to address the issue of financial literacy, “a critical problem for future generations.” “Financial education is a lifelong endeavor,” he continued, and “has to start in elementary and secondary schools, and lead into the college arena.” The Caucus, he hopes, will be a “catalyst for positive change.” Later in the year Senator Reed applauded the adoption of financial literacy standards in his home state of Rhode Island.
Building the Economic & Financial Literacy of Delaware Students
In an effort to bring attention to the continued need for personal finance education in K-12 programming, over 80 industry, government and education leaders joined CEE and our local affiliate, the Delaware Council on Economic Education, on May 5, 2014 for a policy luncheon addressing the need for statewide requirements in economics and financial literacy. Governor Markell kicked off the event asking all present to “respond to the call to promote financial literacy,” while state Representative Ruth Briggs-King pledged to continue to push for a statewide requirement for a high school course in economics and financial literacy. Following this event, the Delaware House passed a bill to establish a Financial Literacy Task Force.
Nan Morrison Speaks on Financial Literacy Education at the U.S. Treasury
On February 12, 2014, Council for Economic Education President & CEO Nan Morrison participated as a panelist at the U.S. Treasury Financial Literacy and Education Commission public meeting alongside José Cisneros, Treasurer, City and County of San Francisco; Eileen I. Klein, President, Arizona Board of Regents; and Kate Marshall, Treasurer, State of Nevada. During the presentation Nan shared the results of the 2014 Survey of the States and discussed the importance of bringing together non-profits, the private sector, and the public sector to not only pass financial literacy requirements but implement programs that improve outcomes for kids and allow them to be prepared for productive futures. A webcast of the full meeting can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1mSCtil with Nan’s remarks beginning at 01:18:20.