Teaching Financial Literacy

Teaching Financial Literacy


California legislators are considering a new measure calling for the incorporation of financial literacy to existing economic courses as part of the standard high school curriculums.   AB 1087, the California Financial Literacy Initiative, would require existing economic courses to add the fundamentals of personal banking, budgeting, personal finance and employment, in addition to other impactors that affect an individual’s personal net income. The students would also be taught the importance of good credit, how to use it, as well as what impacts it.   The legislator who introduced the bill, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo, said he was largely motivated by the expanding and life burdening student debt. “Too many students are leaving high school without the ability to cope with or understand real world financial situations,” he highlighted.   The bill would authorize the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene a Financial Literacy Advisory Committee to review materials that could be provided on the internet in a centralized location for access by local educational agencies, as specified.     In addition, the measure would further require online curricula be included in an online library, or otherwise promoted or made available, in a way that not only protects student privacy but also protects them from marketing directed at them through the provided instructional materials. The training materials will be available for schools, teachers, parents, and pupils. Superintendents would have the ability to coordinate and collaborate with financial institutions, financial services providers, and nonprofit community organizations in collecting and distributing financial literacy materials. They would also be expected to organize financial literacy materials to ensure they are matched to the appropriate grade level. “We need to educate our students on topics like budgeting, managing debt, and uses of credit—so they are prepared for life,” Cunningham concluded.

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