The Council for Economic Education recently released their biennial Survey of the States. The survey is a comprehensive review of the K-12 economic and financial education in the United States. How are the states doing? According to the survey “there has been no improvement in economic education in recent years and slow growth in personal finance education.”
There are only 20 states that require high school students to take a course in economics and 17 states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance. Currently, Maine is one of the states that has no such requirement.
Last year, Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy graded all states and the District of Columbia on their ability to deliver financially literate high school graduates.
Maine received a “B”.
A “B” is a solid grade, but when it comes to grades, don’t we all want an “A”?
In order to graduate, the state of Maine does require students to have two years of social studies and history, which includes American history, government, civics and personal finance. Local school districts decide how personal finance is taught.
In 2013 the state of Maine passed a law requiring the Commissioner of Education to review the standards for personal finance during the next 5 year review process, starting with the 2015-2016 school year. Hopefully this will lead to Maine getting a better grade.
Atlantic Regional Federal Credit Union has been active in helping to increase financial education to students. Adam Caron is the Atlantic Community Outreach & Education Specialist and this year he is working with 15 different high schools and middle schools. Adam says, “The students that I have worked with have a good understanding of savings accounts. Students seem to know that it is important to save and that a good interest rate can grow their balance.”
Adam offers a slice of real life perspective for the students. Many high school seniors dream of owning their own car, but few understand the basics of how an auto loan will work, the benefits of a good credit score, the significance of creating a budget or the reality of the real costs of owning a car. According to Adam, this is an area where students struggle. “Some of the most frequent questions from students include, how do I get a loan, what is a credit score, how can I figure out a monthly payment.”
How does Adam answer these questions? He says, “I start with the basics. The importance of creating a budget, why credit scores are important and keep your credit score high by paying your bills on time.”
Atlantic takes a proactive approach to deliver financial lessons to students. The sooner students learn about these financial responsibilities, the more prepared they will be in the future. Whether it is tomorrow, next year or five years from now, students will encounter financial obstacles. Education is the key.
Atlantic is ready to help.
The Atlantic blog strives to deliver, informative, relevant and sometimes fun financial information. Stay up to date and join our email list.