Thursday, November 13, 2008
Why isn't financial literacy a public school requirement?
This is where I spent my morning yesterday: in a classroom at Winton Hills Academy, a public Cincinnati middle school. All over Ohio yesterday schools participated in "Accounting for Kids Day", a special promotion where people in finance-related jobs went to school and played a game about the stock market to show the kids about investing.
I could have gone to any school but I'm glad it was Winton Hills I went to because it reminded me of my own elementary school: public, mostly black, near a housing project and with many students who don't get much, if any, exposure to something like the stock market. It was a great experience; I had a lot of fun and the students all said they learned something.
The drawback is that financial education for ALL students needs to be integrated into the curriculum. One day of playing a game about the stock market isn't enough, not when we live in a country with a negative savings rate, where so many people made terrible home buying decisions over the past few years, and where so many kids like the ones at Winton Hills are likely to not have access to basic financial tools like checking or savings accounts.
The state of Ohio is going to implement some form of mandatory financial literacy class in the coming years, but one state isn't enough. One of the top education priorities of the Obama administration should be a mandatory financial literacy curriculum.
Where are the lobbyists pushing for that? )Oh, yeah, they're all out begging for bailout money right now.)
Are there any teachers, principals or parents reading this? If so, do your students get any training in financial literacy at all? If so, tell us about it.