November 13, 2013
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NASBE StateEd Special Report:
Financial-Literacy Education and K-12 Schools
Amid an ever-more complex, post-recession financial system, more states and school districts across the country are recognizing the need for students to learn the basics of personal finance and money management at a younger age. Such a foundation in financial literacy -- many believe -- will enable students to navigate this complex system and make good financial decisions throughout their lives.

In this NASBE StateEd SmartBrief Special Report, we take a look at some K-12 schools that are offering personal-finance instruction on such topics as budgeting, saving and investing, as well as the methods, technology and tools that are being used to promote financial literacy among today's students.

We also provide a brief roundup of how states, policymakers and experts are encouraging -- and in some cases mandating -- the teaching of these concepts for K-12 students.

In addition, we provide a list of valuable resources from the National Association of State Boards of Education to help education leaders stay up to date on financial-literacy education at the K-12 level.

If you don't receive NASBE StateEd SmartBrief weekly, we urge you to sign up for our timely e-newsletter. NASBE StateEd SmartBrief delivers the stories making news in your profession directly to your inbox -- for free.
Lessons & Instruction 
  • Personal-finance event gives Wis. students a reality check
    About 300 high-school students in La Crosse, Wis., recently attended an event in which they chose hypothetical careers and practiced managing a budget. The Reality Store is an annual event to teach students about personal finance. Students interact with representatives from banks and other local businesses, who answer questions on topics such as homeownership and taxes. "I think that school districts, communities, see the value in what this opportunity gives kids," business-marketing teacher Kyle Falk said. La Crosse Tribune (Wis.) (11/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students receive financial lessons at Mass. high school
    Seniors at a Massachusetts high school are learning about personal-finance topics, such as credit scores, budgeting and balancing a checkbook through role-play and other activities. The curriculum was developed in partnership with Cambridge Savings Bank. "Often, high schools don't have the opportunity to offer this kind of program, but it's so important to expose students to these topics, especially vocational students who are already working and earning paychecks," said Carissa Karakaedos, assistant superintendent-director. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (11/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • N.Y. high school recognized for scores on "Wall Street" exam
    Babylon Junior-Senior High School in New York was recognized by the W!SE Financial Literacy Program after students in the school's Wall Street and personal-finance class received high scores on the program's financial-literacy exam. The school is among a few hundred in the state to participate in the program. "This program provides students with practical applications for real-world concepts," said teacher Andrew Marulis, who also was recognized for his students' high exam scores. Patch.com/Babylon Village, N.Y. (11/5)
  • Other News
LEI Introduces Students to the World of Personal Finance
Learning, Earning, and Investing for a New Generation contains 21 lessons that introduce students to the world of investing. The focus is on strategies for investing for the long term, as part of an overall approach to financial planning. Lessons include the language of financial markets and the nature of financial institutions in the US economy.
Tools & Technology 
  • Online finance course coming to some Mich. high schools
    High schools in Monroe County, Mich., are among those incorporating online lessons in personal finance into the curriculum. Online, teacher-led lessons, created by education-technology company EverFi, are being incorporated into subjects such as economics, business math and government, depending on the school. More than 25% of 17-year-olds participating in a recent survey said they were not confident about managing their finances after high school. Monroe News (Mich.) (10/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • S.C. schools teaching financial literacy with iPads
    Students at several South Carolina schools are being given iPads equipped with personal financial-literacy programs as part of a statewide push to teach students about money. The iPads, donated by an investment company, are being distributed by state Treasurer Curtis Loftis. Educators say financial-literacy lessons are needed to help students learn to manage their money. Spartanburg Herald-Journal (S.C.) (10/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Mo. district teams up with bank on finance curriculum
    Eleven public middle schools in St. Louis are scheduled to roll out a new personal-finance course from Wells Fargo. The course -- Hands On Banking -- will be incorporated into schools' social studies curriculum. "Quality of life is substantially influenced by an individual's level of financial literacy," social studies curriculum specialist GegiMara Ra-El said. "By teaching our students to manage money effectively, we are equipping them with the tools they need to make informed decisions." The St. Louis American (10/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Helping prepare students for life beyond the classroom!
Financial Fitness for Life is a comprehensive personal finance curriculum for K-12 students that teaches students how to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions about important aspects of personal finance including earning income, spending, saving, borrowing, investing, and managing money. Available in four grade levels: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
Policy News 
  • Colo., Ariz. lawmakers require lessons on personal finance
    Lawmakers in Colorado and Arizona have taken steps to ensure schools teach students about personal finance. In Colorado, standards passed in 2008 are expected to be fully implemented across all grades this school year. In Arizona, the state has passed legislation that says schools must incorporate personal finance into their social studies standards. Economics teacher Mitch Ruttenberg said he ends the school year with lessons on credit cards, taxes, budgeting and more. "It's the last thing they get from me because I know that's what they need the most," he said. The Denver Post (10/27) , Mohave Valley Daily News (Bullhead City, Ariz.) (10/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Maine mandates financial literacy for graduation
    High-school students in Maine soon will be required to complete coursework in personal finance before they graduate, according to legislation that took effect Oct. 9. The measure requires schools to include the lessons -- on budgeting, investing and other topics -- as part of math instruction required for graduation. "It's very important for students to have a good sense of how money works and how to make good decisions based on one's personal and business finances," Marshwood High School principal Paul Mehlhorn said. Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.) (free registration) (10/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Experts stress the importance of financial-literacy education
    The recent economic crisis is attributed widely by economists as the result of a lack of financial knowledge in the U.S. Though research shows schools might be reluctant to include financial-literacy lessons amid a focus on core curricula, some experts say such lessons are imperative. "Financial education should be as fundamental as the education we are all required to receive in American history and government. We must be deliberate about pursuing financial education in our schools," said Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Washington Informer (Washington, D.C.) (10/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Is your school district using the new 4th Ed. of AP Economics Macro and Micro? Teacher and Student Guides are available.
NASBE Resources 
  • Who Will Own Our Children?
    In 2006, NASBE's Commission on Financial and Investor Literacy was in the avant garde when it called for states to consider financial literacy and investor education as a basic feature of K-12 education. And, though "Who Will Own Our Children: The Report of the NASBE Commission on Financial and Investor Literacy" was released in 2006 and conditions have changed, the concepts and recommendations -- such as including financial and investor education in state academic standards -- remain relevant today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Providing Students with the Tools for Financial Success
    This NASBE Policy Update, "Financial Education: Providing Students with the Tools for Financial Success," takes a hard look at two critical issues as state education policymakers develop and implement financial-literacy policies: The integration of financial education throughout the continuum of K-12 education, and highly relevant and targeted financial education curricula. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How should financial-literacy content be linked to high-school graduation requirements?
    Taught in a required, stand-alone class  50.00%
    Embedded in social studies curriculum  41.67%
    Should not be a graduation requirement  8.33%
  

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