How your state is teaching kids financial literacy | Clayton News Photo Slideshows


Gone are the days when learning how to balance a checkbook in home economics class was enough to prepare young people for financial responsibility—if there ever was a time when that was true. Financial literacy is an undeniably valuable tool for navigating an digital and data-driven world. Online banking and investing are ever more accessible, and dozens of financial apps can help users keep track of their credit scores, account balances, and budgets in real-time. But even with more tools available, income inequality continues to increase and student loan debt is valued at a record-shattering $1.7 trillion nationally.

Citing data from the Council for Economic Education, GoHenry looked at six types of laws mandating personal finance education across the country and outlined where every state stands on each.

Despite the fact that 83% of Americans believe parents are responsible for teaching their children about finances, very few actually talk to their kids about money, according to an April 2022 CNBC poll. In fact, 69% of parents report feeling reluctant to broach the topic of finances with their kids. Because of this around discussing money, many children and young adults only learn of these financial discomforts for the first time in school. But the way schools cover personal finance varies depending on the state you live in, your school district, and how well-resourced your school is.

According to the Council of Economic Education, which publishes national standards for teaching personal finance, important topics to include in financial literacy courses are earning income, spending, saving, investing, managing credit, and managing risk. But only around half of states require personal finance topics to be covered in schools.

According to a 2021 Milken Institute report, the unevenness of the financial literacy landscape across the US falls along racial, socioeconomic, and gender lines; Populations historically excluded from financial stability and prosperity are also less likely to have access to personal finance education, perpetuating a cycle of disempowerment.

Bolstering financial literacy in schools is becoming an increasing priority for states and school districts across the country, and it’s one step in helping an individual financial understand fundamentals. But it alone is not enough to change the financial destinies of many young people. Systemic inequalities, frequently along racial lines, are sustained through intergenerational wealth and poverty. Having access to knowledge about personal finance, in other words, is not the same thing as having money. Conversely, strong social assistance programmes, particularly during the COVID pandemic, were shown to decrease poverty rates.

Read on to learn more about how financial literacy is taught in your state.

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