A week ago, U.S. Senator Patty Murray introduced legislation proposing an investment of $250 million to support personal finance education in public schools and colleges. Education is the key to improving the financial stability of future generations, and parents have the strongest side of responsibility. While the general media doesn’t encourage fiscal responsibility through excessive commercialism, this message may not be balanced by education at home or in school. The problem is that many parents don’t have the ability to pass on solid knowledge because they didn’t receive good habits from their own parents. The cycle has to be broken somehow, and public education is a good start.
The public school curriculum is already packed with essential education in science, math, humanities, languages, and arts. Adding a separate personal finance requirement to the curriculum would require cutbacks in other areas of education, and I cannot support that. Alternatively, schools can incorporate money management into other classes or offer elective courses.
This legislation would provide needed funds for teaching financial literacy in whatever manner appropriate and necessary.
Of the $250 million in grant funding, $125 million will go to support classes in local colleges that students, working adults, and seniors can access to learn crucial financial basics. Another $125 million will go toward K-12 schools to teach financial literacy, help teachers incorporate financial lessons in other subjects, set new financial literacy standards, and develop innovative afterschool programs.
A public school that receives a grant under this program would be required to implement teacher training programs to embed financial literacy and personal finance education into core academic subjects, administer financial literacy assessments on at least an annual basis, and implement financial literacy activities within core academic subjects.
The bill was introduced and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Senator Ted Kennedy.
Updated June 23, 2016 and originally published March 5, 2008.