SURVEY OF THE STATES
CEE’s Biennial Survey of the States
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 progress in K–12 economic and financial education, revealing both how far we’ve come as a country—and how far we still have to go.
The Survey of the States is critical for our understanding of where resources are most needed, in terms of outreach and advocacy.
Survey of the States 2023 Update
Since we released the 2022 Survey of the States, an exciting wave of momentum has increased the number of states requiring students to take a personal finance course to graduate from high school. 30 states have now passed legislation or regulatory changes to require students to take this course; in 16 of them, the requirement is for a stand-alone personal finance course. We are thrilled by this growing trend and, through our FinEd50 initiative, are working to grow that number and increase access to this knowledge for all students.
The number of states requiring students to take an economics course remains unchanged at 25 states.
Economic education is at risk
- The last decade saw almost no change in the state-level economics education landscape and backtracking at the federal level
- In 2011, 22 states required economics for graduation; in 2022 that number has only risen to 25
- Legislation that would remove economics requirements has been proposed in states including Georgia and South Carolina
- Fewer states are requiring students to be tested in economics in 2022 than in 2011
- In 2019, the National Assessment Governing Board decided to remove the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in economics from its assessment schedule
Personal finance education is making slow but steady increases
- Since the last edition of the Survey of the States was published, two additional states have increased their personal finance standards, instituting a requirement for students to take a course on personal finance. 23 states now have this requirement, up from only 7 in 2000.
- There has been progress in establishing dedicated courses in personal finance rather than including it in other coursework—there are now 9 states with dedicated courses while there were only 6 in 2020.
Access is still not evenly distributed
- There’s still work to be done to ensure that the teaching—and the resources that support that teaching—reflects the wide variety of students’ cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic situations, and life goals.
- When funding varies among districts, so does the quality and effectiveness of financial education, creating inherent inequities throughout the state.
- Funded and intentional statewide approaches can make a difference in individual lives and help move the “equity needle” for under-resourced communities.
Take Action Today
Research shows that requirements are the main driver of economics and personal finance being taught in schools. You can join us in taking action to make sure that all of our students – not just those living in states with strong financial education mandates – are equipped with the tools to make better decisions for their financial futures.
CEE is taking action in response to the findings from the Survey of the States. In partnership with Visa, we have created FinEd50, an initiative that advocates for positive change. Please visit FinEd50.com for more information and to access CEE’s Advocacy Toolkit. The advocacy toolkit offers ideas and resources for students, teachers, and other community members to actively advocate for better policies at the state and local level. Advocacy ensures proper economic and personal finance standards are in place and access to quality economic and personal finance exists for all students.