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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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: 

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
(973) 886-1917

Kate Alexander
(201) 638-3946


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

Council for Economic Education Produces Content for Minecraft: Education Edition


The Council for Economic Education (CEE) is excited to announce new educational content released for Mojang and Microsoft’s Minecraft: Education Edition. CEE released two free Minecraft lesson plans providing teachers, grades 3-5 nationwide the opportunity to further engage their students on the subject of economics via one of the most popular games in the world.

The lesson plans are designed for students to explore how to make smart economic choices in a team setting. When playing Minecraft, students will evaluate costs and benefits to help determine the types of resources needed to build a structure. In turn, when they’ve created a structure in Minecraft they will reflect on how their economic decisions made a positive or negative impact on their built environment.

“We are excited about our activities with the Minecraft Education team,” said Nan J. Morrison, CEO and President, CEE. “The fact is that only 20 states require students to take a course in high school economics and it’s our mission to ensure kids at every age are given the opportunity to learn key economic concepts. Using Minecraft is a fun and easy way to teach kids about fundamental life skills – choices, costs, and benefits – all core principles of economics.”

CEE will continue to develop free Minecraft lesson plans tied to economic concepts for teachers to use in the classroom. To view the two free lesson plans, please visit:

Teachers can sign-up for a trial of Minecraft: Education Edition by visiting:

POSTED: March 8, 2017 | BY: April Somboun | TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,

The Students Have Spoken: Vote for Your Favorite Economic Advice!

We asked students nationwide, “What economic advice would they give the next U.S. president?” and we received hundreds of creative and fun video entries. The topics ranged from increasing human capital, helping the homeless, cutting the military budget, free college tuition and more!


Voting period ends October 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET.


POSTED: October 3, 2016 | BY: April Somboun | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2016 Student Video Contest



And we want to get K-12 students thinking about the next president and the economic future of the country. That’s why we’re inviting you to participate in our election video contest!


We’re asking you to record one or a group of students answering the following question in 60 seconds or less:


BE CREATIVE! Video entries must be less than 60 seconds. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 pm, September 30th, 2016.


There are two winners for the CEE Video contest:

Viewers’ Choice will be selected by popular vote (voting begins October 3rd, 2016). The Economists’ Choice will be selected by CEE’s panel of judges. Winning teams (2) will receive a $500 AMEX gift card for the teacher and $25 AMEX gift cards for each participating student. Winners will be announced on October 12, 2016.


Please review the rules and FAQs before entering the contest. Teachers must enter the videos on behalf of their students. Teachers may enter more than one video per class.

CEE is a bipartisan non-profit organization; no candidates can be mentioned by name or imitated.



Debtonator  Santiago and Garner Suncrest


While your students are busy putting their videos together, bolster their learning experience with lessons on the election cycle and the U.S government.

  • Economic Misery and Presidential Elections (gr. 9-12): Teach about how two economic measures, the Misery Index and the growth rate in real GDP per capita, can be used to make predictions about presidential elections.
  • Money and Elections (gr. 9-12): Students will be introduced to the sources of campaign war chests, learning about the recent court decisions that have allowed for the creation of “Super PACS” and 501 (c) (4) organizations.
  • Immigration (gr. 6-12): This lesson helps students better understand immigration, a major issue in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Voters and Elections (gr. 6-8): Students identify costs associated with voting. Then they make predictions about who might be more likely to vote based on their understanding of opportunity costs.
  • President Obama’s Allowance (gr. 3-5): In this lesson, students will identify different expenses in the US budget and will decide on the order of importance for different expenses.


Get other teachers and students involved in the video contest. We’ve put together some images to help you spread the word.

To use an image, follow these easy steps:

  1. Choose which image you want to include on your web site from the options below.
  2. Copy and paste the corresponding HTML code into your web page


Triple-click the text to select



Triple-click the text to select



Triple-click the text to select



Triple-click the text to select


POSTED: August 15, 2016 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , ,

Personal Finance Is A Lot Like Relationships


Matt-Gherman-photoWritten by: Matthew Gherman 11/12th Grade Teacher of AP Economics, American History, ELL Global History at Edward R. Murrow High School, Brooklyn, NY. Matthew received the 2015 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Teaching Champion Award.


Personal finance is a lot like relationships. They’re both taboo subjects in which everyone professes their advice and expertise, but in reality each is a very imprecise science. For high school students, these two topics are numbers one and two in terms of their curiosity (personal finance is probably a distant, but strong, second place). The curiosity and eagerness that surround this topic are what makes it fun to teach.  Students are familiar with many of the terms: interest rates, stocks, bonds, checking account, credit cards, credit score; yet there is so much room for exploration and enlightenment. For both finance and relationships there is wisdom that would be helpful to know at the age of 18, but is only earned from life experience. Therefore, the best approach to teaching the subject incorporates knowledge learned by trial and error, paving the road for the next generation.

Also at the age of 18, these are topics that might seem far away, but really they are much closer and include situations that students need to be ready for.  Students need to understand that their credit score is their life GPA, and they need to start building it now and learning how to build it now.  At 18, they can open up an investment account and learn how to begin to grow their money at a rate faster than a savings account. They need to begin building that big savings for important purchases that will all possibly come within a decade: college, car, apartment, engagement ring, marriage, home and children.  Many of these are concepts that they probably shrug at as “not my problem now,” but that decade goes by fast, and with it a lot of missed opportunity to improve their futures. The savings and investing which will make each stage of their lives easier starts at 18 (or even earlier) and the teacher is the provider of all of this information. The questions and enthusiasm that they bring to class enhance the teaching experience exponentially.

The ease with which these topics can be differentiated is also a great selling point for teaching it. Depending on student strengths, your lessons can range from just reviewing the basics to dissecting and debating scholarly articles and evaluating political implications. There is also opportunity for independent research, web-quests and presentation projects which add a different flavor to the class.  Additionally, teachers aren’t limited by being shackled to a state test at the end of the year. This subject allows creativity for both teachers and students.

Personal finance is strongly connected to the civic responsibility of voting. So many times politics is reduced to sound bites, preying on an uneducated class of voters. There are many social political issues that are shades of gray and fun to debate, but ultimately, the questions all students should have on their minds are what does the government do with our money and what are the implications of government actions on our wages, healthcare, investments, mortgages, and income taxes. Teaching personal finance creates a better informed and responsible citizenry.

The most important aspect of teaching personal finance is that these are life skills. This is the most useful course that students will take in high school because it will help them to be college ready, career ready, and life ready.

POSTED: April 5, 2016 | BY: April Somboun | TAGS: , , , , , ,

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