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Financial Ignorance is Not an Option

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.

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

Ohio Government Making Smart Choices

BY: SENATOR LOU TERHAR, Ohio Senate, District 8

The low level of financial literacy in Ohio (and nationwide) exacerbated the effects of the Great Recession. Ohio is ranked fourth worst in financial literacy of the 50 states, has the sixth highest proportion of college graduate student loan debt and ranks 33rd in average per capita defined contribution retirement funds balance, at just $27,000.

Ohio House Bill 391, passed in 2016 in the 131st General Assembly, was an effort to improve financial literacy in Ohio. The bill provided for $318,000 for Smart Ohio, a program supporting curriculum, teacher stipends and student assessments to deliver professional development to Ohio teachers in grades 1-6, created and delivered primarily by the Economics Center for Education and Research of the University of Cincinnati. An initial pilot project, which provided teachers with training in a solid and proven system, resulted in major gains in the financial literacy of children. The General Assembly was so impressed with the program’s results that continued funding for Smart Ohio was approved by both Houses even in very difficult budget negotiations.

In Smart Ohio’s first year, 500 teachers were trained, impacting approximately 12,500 students. By 2021, it will reach 75,000 students at a cost of $8.48 per student. The continued funding will increase the impact on Ohio student financial literacy capabilities, at a lower per student basis, ensuring that as many students as possible can make mature, informed financial choices that will allow them to prosper in a free market. The legislature’s support of this statewide program reflects a belief that the future of our state lies in the economic and financial literacy of our students. We are proud to support our future leaders in their development of good decision-making skills.

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

POSTED: February 14, 2018 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Call to Business Leaders

By: DAN SCHULMAN, President & CEO, PayPal 

PayPal is committed to democratizing financial services to enable all people to join and thrive in the digital economy. Whether here in the US or around the world, we believe everyone should have access to the affordable, convenient and secure financial products and services they need to improve their financial health, support their families, contribute to their communities, and invest in their futures.

But access is only part of the equation – another critical part is education. Economic and financial literacy is a foundational element to achieving financial health and needs to be included in early education programs. We have seen firsthand that improving the financial health of individuals has powerful ripple effects across families, communities, companies, and economies. And that process starts in the classroom.

Financial inclusion and financial health are problems that we can solve in our lifetimes if we truly understand the causes and challenges, and commit to partnering across the ecosystem to fix the gaps that exist in the traditional financial system. We can make a difference by forming deeper bonds between the public, private, and social sectors to develop new curriculum and educational models that foster and encourage financial literacy and understanding from an early age.

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

POSTED: February 13, 2018 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where Does Your State Stand?

Every two years, the Council for Economic Education (CEE) conducts a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States, collecting data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The biennial Survey of the States serves as an important benchmark for our progress, revealing both how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. There has been notable progress since the first survey was published in 1998, yet the pace of change has slowed. The 2018 Survey of the States shows that there has been little increase in economic education in recent years and no growth in personal finance education.

Research shows that requirements are the main driver of economics and personal finance being taught in schools. CEE works with our nationwide network of affiliates to both advocate for requirements and assist in their implementation. To support local and state advocacy initiatives, we have developed voluntary standards in economics and personal finance, nationally-normed, curriculum-agnostic assessments in economics and personal finance, and an online advocacy toolkit.

You can help strengthen economic and personal finance education by: 

  • Requesting a course in your school or district
  • Calling for more teacher-training
  • Promoting standards and course requirements at the state level.

Where does your state stand?


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

POSTED: February 12, 2018 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , , , , ,

2018 Survey of the States Reveals Slow to No Growth in K-12 Personal Finance and Economic Education

Now in Its 20th Year, Council for Economic Education Study Highlights Wide Gaps in Financial and Economic Education Throughout U.S. States

 

A 2017 study from the American Psychological Association reveals that money is the second leading source of stress in the United States, and the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety, which financial woes can easily trigger. Yet, according to Council for Economic Education’s (CEE) 2018 Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools, financial independence may be out of reach for many because K-12 students are not receiving adequate tools and training to make informed financial decisions; only one-third of the U.S. states require high school students to take a course in personal finance, while less than half require them to take a course in economics before graduating.

Now in its 20th year, Survey of the States findings indicate that progress has been achieved, yet gains have slowed in recent years. CEE will unveil the full results at an event today at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Research shows that students in states that require financial education have higher credit scores as well as more responsible spending habits and are less prone to compulsive shopping, reducing their financial risk greatly. However, 2018 Survey of the States findings reveal:

  • The number of states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance (17) has not changed over the past four years.
  • Since 2016, there been no change in the number of states which include personal finance in their K-12 standards and require those standards to be taught.
  • 22 states require high school students to take a course in economics—less than half the country but two more states than in 2016.
  • There has been no change in the number of states that require standardized testing of economic concepts since 2014.

“When we initiated this survey in 1998, only one state required enrollment in a personal finance course while 13 required enrollment in an economics class, so clearly we’ve made some gains. Michigan, Georgia, Utah and Texas are leading the way by requiring personal finance and economics courses to be offered and taken, as well as by implementing state standards and standardized testing,” said Nan J. Morrison, President and CEO of the Council for Economic Education. “However, the majority of U.S. states are failing our students by declining to offer these fundamental courses which are critical to their financial stability and security later in life.”

CEE conducts The Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools every two years. The report collects data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and includes commentary from experts and educators in the field to provide a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States.

The 2018 Survey of the States is available for download at: www.councilforeconed.org/surveyofthestates 

About the Council for Economic Education

The Council for Economic Education (CEE) is the leading non-profit organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school—and we have been doing so for nearly 70 years. We carry out our mission by educating the educators: providing the curriculum tools, the pedagogical support, and the community of peers that instruct, inspire, and guide. All resources and programs are developed by educators, and delivered by our national network of affiliates. Our goal is to reach and teach every child. Each year CEE’s programs reach more than 55,000 K-12 teachers and over 5 million students across the United States. EconEdLink – our free, online educator gateway for economic and personal finance lessons and resources – attracts more than 1 million unique visitors annually.

Media Contacts:  

Lisa Fels Davitt
lisa@successioncommunications.com
(973) 886-1917

Kate Alexander
kate@successioncommunications.com
(201) 638-3946

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POSTED: February 8, 2018 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Your support is making a difference” — Teacher Gabriel Tanglao


Gabriel Tanglao headshotHi, my name is Gabriel Tanglao, and I am the proud recipient of the 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Teaching Champion Award presented by the Council for Economic Education (CEE) for excellence in promoting economic education.

I believe economics education is a vital stepping stone in the climb toward the American Dream. Our role as economics educators is to help these students move to higher ground.

By supporting CEE, you are helping to provide teachers, like me, with the tools and resources that we need to teach our kids about economics and personal finance, so that they can make better decisions for themselves, their family, their communities, and the country.

Please join me in supporting CEE by making a gift today.

Sincerely,

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Gabriel Tanglao
10-11th Grade Teacher
Bergen County Technical Schools, Teterboro

POSTED: December 14, 2017 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , , , ,

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