Financial Ignorance is Not an Option

POSTED: February 15, 2018 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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BY: RYAN LEUNG, rising senior, Lexington High School and 2016 winner of the National Economics Challenge

If the goal of high school is to prepare students for life after graduation, then most schools in our country are not meeting that standard. While our school system prepares students with the academic skills needed to succeed, there is one glaring flaw: most students graduate with next to no knowledge on managing finances.

Money-management skills are more important than ever to navigate the economic realities of the modern marketplace, yet most states still do not require high schools to offer personal finance classes. In lieu of high school personal finance classes, most teens either learn from their mistakes or look to parents for personal finance lessons. Unfortunately, not all parents are well-equipped to serve as financial models for their children.

To address this growing national problem, a group of students from Lexington, Massachusetts founded Project Finance, an organization to promote financial literacy in high schools. We distributed a survey to all public high schools across the state and found an absence of universally accepted financial literacy standards across the Commonwealth. As such, Project Finance has been pushing for the adoption of financial literacy standards, and in March 2017 successfully requested the State Board of Education to review the Council for Economic Education’s National Standards for Financial Literacy for implementation into the state curriculum. This is only a start; offering a personal finance class in each high school is the necessary next step to prepare our students to become informed consumers, investors and participants in our global economy.

Being financially literate cannot guarantee future success, but the personal and national costs of being financially ignorant are immense. My generation is being academically prepared for life after graduation; it is now time for us to be financially prepared.

 

This op-ed piece was published in the Council for Economic Education’s 2018 Survey of the States.

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