Keys to Success

The Five Keys to High School Financial Literacy

Keys to High School Financial Literacy

  1. Financial literacy topics must be taught in a course that students are required to take as a graduation requirement.
  2. Teacher training is critical. To effectively educate our students about personal finance, we need confident, well-trained educators.
  3. Funding is needed to ensure that these classes are offered to all high school students.
  4. In order to make sure that the high school classroom personal finance training is working, we need to give students standard assessments on knowledge and behaviors.
  5. Educators need easy access to quality curriculum, lesson plans, calculators, videos, games, applications, activities, projects, case studies, articles and expert volunteer speakers. This can often be provided to educators online by the state.

How Do Grade A & B States Deliver Personal Finance to High School Students?

COURSE OFFERING GRADE A & B STATES
Full-year course-half of course (60 hours of instruction) is dedicated to personal finance topics Alabama (career preparedness course) and Virginia (economics and personal finance course)
Half-year stand-alone, personal finance course Tennessee and Utah
Local school district determines whether personal finance instruction is delivered as a half-year course or as half of a full-year course Missouri (If full-year course offering is used, it is offered in social studies or practical arts.)
Embed personal finance instruction into half-year economics course  Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina (civics and economics course), South Carolina and Texas
Full-year course-less than half of course is dedicated to personal finance topics West Virginia (Civics for the Next Generation)
Subject to local school district control, personal finance instruction is offered as either a standalone course or embedded into other required courses (generally through economics, civics, family and consumer sciences, business, life skills, career readiness or mathematics courses) Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota and Ohio
Embed personal finance instruction into half-year civics course with a section on free enterprise Louisiana
Require nine weeks of consumer education instruction  Illinois

Grade A

Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah & Virginia

Tennessee and Utah both require a half-year course in personal finance as a graduation requirement. Alabama and Virginia both require that personal finance instruction be given as part of a full-year course. Based on our review of the educational standards of these full-year courses, we concluded that students in these states are receiving the equivalent of a half-year personal finance course. Missouri allows local school districts to determine whether the personal finance instruction is delivered in a stand-alone half-year course or is embedded as half of the instruction in a full-year course.

Utah-the only state in the nation worthy of the Grade A+ 

The state of Utah should be commended for its efforts. Utah requires that all high school students take a half-year course exclusively dedicated to personal finance topics, and students are required to take an endof-course assessment examination created and administered by the state. The state requires that educators teaching this course obtain a specific endorsement in general financial literacy that includes coursework on financial planning, credit and investing, and consumer, personal and family economics. The state also provides its educators with tools, resources and many professional development opportunities. General financial literacy is a funded mandate in Utah.

Grade B

Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas & West Virginia

States with a B grade have personal finance topics in their educational standards and require local school districts to implement them. To graduate from high school in a B state, a student must take a course that includes personal finance topics. Most states identify a specific course that must be taken to graduate from high school that includes financial literacy instruction. Other states have very specific standards that must be taught as a graduation requirement but leave how the instruction is implemented up to local school districts. 

These states require that personal finance topics be taught and embed them in economics, civics, family and consumer sciences, business, life skills, career readiness or mathematics courses.