Florida’s Push for Financial Literacy
Florida and Financial Literacy
If you’ve checked out some of my blogs in the past, you’ll know that I have a passion for financial literacy. The levels of knowledge that students in the U.S. have regarding basic finance is abysmal in comparison to other countries. After a recent study was conducted highlighting this disparity, public school systems have started paying attention. Most recently Florida has taken the initiative to change the way that students learn about personal finance. With their new legislation making its way through the system, the Sunshine State is leading in taking the proper steps to changing curriculums for the better.
The Florida Senate took into consideration that nearly two-thirds of American students can’t calculate interest. Senator Dorothy Hukill is sponsoring the legislation. It states that all schools incorporate a personal finance course into their schedule. The course will be mandatory for all students to pass prior to graduating. These types of classes would include basic financial literacy such as balancing a checkbook and computing interest. As of now 17 other states have such requirements in place, but 17/50 is still an unreasonably low number.
As Florida focuses on getting this law through the legislature, there are some concerns that are still being raised. Most schools already have a jam-packed curriculum. Some of the politicians believe that this new course would take away from the elective ones such as arts and fitness. Another State Senator from Florida feels as though a longer school day or even year might be considered if the curriculum continues at this expansion rate.
Some more concerns are being voiced from the local school boards. If the legislation is approved, the new course could cost up to $8.8 million without the support of state funding. These new classes could be introduced as early as Fall 2018. This means that neither schools nor the state has much time for planning their allocation of resources. If the state government wants to move towards improving financial literacy among young people, they have to be willing to pay the price.
Personally, I would be very happy to see all fifty states take the same action that Florida has along with the states that have come before them. Personal finance is something that every person will have to manage at some point in their life. The earlier these lessons start in the education system, the less likely we will see young adult struggling with debt and financial decision making.