Communications Office: Stephen Mease
BURLINGTON, VT.— Responding to a national need to produce more financially literate citizens, Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy has issued a report card that grades the 50 states in terms of their efforts to strengthen personal finance education in high schools.
"The focus is on high schools because that is where data is and it's where personal finance education belongs," says John Pelletier, director of the center. "For many Americans, education stops at high school. A college education is not the solution. Very few colleges offer a personal finance elective for student to take and just a few institutions require personal finance instruction as a graduation requirement."
Pelletier noted that the state grades are based on financial literacy legislation summaries maintained by National Conference of State Legislatures for the last 14 years and on reports issued by the JumpStart Coalition and the Council for Economic Education. Researchers at the center double-checked inconsistencies with additional research, but the grades are only as accurate as these public sources of information. Inaccuracies could result in grades that are too lenient or too harsh.
"I believe that at a minimum, states should require personal finance topics be taught as part of another required course," says Pelletier. "A standalone high school course is often difficult to achieve with many local and state governmental organizations taking the position that a new personal finance course requirement is not possible."
Another barrier, he says, is teacher training. Champlain's center has offered a graduate- level course for teachers in Vermont for the past three summers to give teachers the confidence, skills and curriculum tools that they need to successfully bring personal finance instruction successfully into their classrooms.
"We were only able to give 40 percent of states grades that you would want your children to bring home from school-grades A or B," Pelletier says. "My dream, of course, would be for all states to earn an A grade. I hope that over the next year the states with grades C, D and F will do much more to bring these critically important topics to their high school students."
State-by-state grades follow, with expanded explanations for each state's grade linked here.
Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia.
Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.
Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Florida, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wyoming.
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Washington.
Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy is nationally acclaimed, one-of-a-kind program aimed at increasing knowledge of money matters in classrooms across the country, ensure college students graduate with the skills to make sound decisions about spending, credit and investments, and help adults navigate difficult financial situations like buying a home and saving for retirement. A partnership among several financial institutions, non-profit entities and governmental agencies, its goals are to promote and develop financial literacy skills in K-12 students, college students, teachers (K-12 and college) and adults, and advocate for financial education opportunities at the local, state and national level.
Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 60 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 Edition. Champlain was named a "Top-Up-and-Coming School" by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges and is ranked in the top tier of 2014 Regional Colleges in the North. For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.