From Washington D.C. to the schools in my home state of Washington, there is broad agreement that when students walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma, they should have the skills they need to further their education and begin their career. I believe to be truly college-and-career ready, students need a strong foundation in financial literacy, so they will be able to tackle those challenges in adulthood. That’s not just important for their future. It’s also important for our economy.
We saw with the devastating economic recession that too many Americans lacked the information and skills to make sound, well-informed financial decisions, from signing up for credit cards, to taking out a mortgage, to planning for retirement. That’s not just problematic for families, it can have negative consequences for our national economy.
In the Senate, I’ve championed legislation to help Americans of all ages become more financially informed by making sure states have the resources they need to teach financial literacy in K-12 schools and two-and-four-year colleges.
Whether it’s skyrocketing interest rates on credit cards or a complex retirement plan, one thing I’ve heard from so many constituents is, “I wish they had taught this stuff in school.” I agree. For younger students, learning these skills alongside the core curriculum in math and reading will help prepare them for the challenges they will face later in life. Especially as students and families take on loans to finance their post-secondary education, they need to have these basic skills so they fully understand the consequences of taking on student debt.
Adults should also have access to financial education, so they can understand the fine print and not fall prey to predatory lending or other scams. That’s why my legislation would provide resources to two-and-four-year colleges and universities and partner organizations, so they can provide high-quality courses in financial literacy.
Education is one of the most important investments we can make to create broad-based and long-term economic growth. Empowering more Americans with the knowledge and skills they need to make sound financial decisions goes hand-in-hand with providing all students with a high-quality public education, regardless of where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make. That’s why I’ll continue to fight for investments to better prepare today’s and tomorrow’s citizens for the numerous individual financial decisions they will make, from housing to employment and education.
All students should graduate from high school, college-and-career ready, which includes having a strong foundation in financial literacy. Incorporating financial literacy skills in K-12 education, as well as expanding learning opportunities well into adulthood, will pay off for our students’ future and the future of our economy.