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Should Financial Literacy Be Taught as Early as Second Grade?

Should Financial Literacy Be Taught as Early as Second Grade?

The “lack of financial literacy is a major factor in the burgeoning student loan debt crisis,” said Robert Johnson, president and CEO of The American College of Financial Services to TheStreet.com.

"And, the lack of financial literacy contributed to the financial crisis of 2008-09, as many Americans didn't understand how variable rate mortgage debt worked.”

In order to fix the problem of American adults largely being financially illiterate, teaching financial literacy early on is crucial, says a variety of experts to TheStreet.com.

But so far, that’s not happening in a majority of the country’s states.

A study from the Council for Economic Education found dismal results when looking at the state of financial literacy education in America’s schools.

The report "found the number of states that require high school students to take a course in economics has dropped to 20 — two fewer states than in 2014. There also has been no change in the number of states requiring standardized testing of economic concepts since 2014.”

Only 17 states require high school students to take any sort of personal finance class at all.

One expert placed the blame on the lack of a national initiative.

"Nina Heck, director of counseling and client services at the nonprofit Guidewell Financial Solutions, said the problem is that education of any type is not mandated nationally, making it a state-by-state issue. With several different school districts and many budgets squeezed tight, financial education can vary extensively, she said,” according to TheStreet.com.

Crystal Rau, a certified financial planner at Syntal Capital Partners, is involved with numerous financial education programs and said her experience has led her to believe that finance education should begin no later than 2nd grade.

“I've gone in to talk about financial topics to high school aged kids who really have no interest at that point,” she said, according to the article.

“By beginning to introduce basic topics such as budgeting, paychecks and taxes, parents won't have to be so worried about sending their graduates off to college without a strong understanding of financial concepts,” she said.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/23/2016

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