“Because personal finance critically affects every student in America…students must learn to manage money, create budgets and build good credit habits to become financially secure adults in the ‘real world’.”
-Next Gen Personal Finance
In January 2018, the State Board of Education adopted the Jump$tart National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education. The Jump$tart Standards supplement the current College, Career and Civic Life (C3) State Standards for Social Studies, Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM), and Family and Consumer Sciences Education Grade Expectations. The State Board of Education recognized the multidisciplinary nature of financial literacy as these standards can be addressed within social studies, math, business, family and consumer science, as well as through flexible pathways.
The Agency of Education is working with the Center for Financial Literacy and Vermont educators to align the Jump$tart Standards to performance indicators, proficiency-based graduation requirements (PBGRs) and student-centered learning.
An Interdisciplinary Focus on Financial Literacy
Vermont has unique constraints (student population sizes, financial concerns, local-control government structure) that necessitate flexible implementation of standards to ensure equity. There are 13 Vermont SUs/SDs that currently require Financial Literacy as a Graduation Requirement (according to NextGen Financial Literacy data). When the Vermont State Board of Education considered the adoption of Financial Literacy standards, it was with the understanding that the standards would be interdisciplinary in nature. Now that the standards are adopted, it is expected that the SU/SD instruct and assess financial literacy concepts based on the standards. How that is accomplished is locally determined.
The Agency of Education has created a crosswalk of the Jump$tart Standards and the C3, CCSSM, Family and Consumer Science Education Vermont-adopted standards. The State Board of Education has not adopted business standards, but Jump$tart Financial Literacy Standards can be met through flexible pathways, within most business program curriculum, and through certain career and technical education centers.
Why is Financial Literacy Important?
Financial literacy spans the continuum of education and can help prepare our students with the knowledge and skills to make wise economic decisions throughout their lifetime.
- A 2016 survey indicated that only 31% of young Americans (ages 18 to 26) agreed that their high school education did a good job of teaching them healthy financial habits.
- A 2014 study indicated that only 24% of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) surveyed could answer four out of five questions correctly in a financial literacy quiz.
- Kids are not learning about personal finance at home. A 2017 T. Rowe Price Survey noted that 69% of parents have some reluctance about discussing financial matters with their kids. Only 23% of kids surveyed indicated that they talk to their parents frequently about money, and 35% stated that their parents are uncomfortable talking to them about money (pp.50-55).
- Every two years, the Center for Financial Literacy produces a national report card that measures how well all states and Washington, D.C. are doing in regard to producing financially literate graduates. It is evident that Vermont is not alone in its need to elevate the importance of sound personal finance education for its students.
There are a myriad of financial literacy resources available to elementary school generalists or content-focused high school or Career and Technical Education teachers that may prove helpful in implementing the standards. We have provided just a sample of the many resources below.
Bankrate - A resource for calculating interest, mortgage rates, insurance, car loans.
Dollar Street - An interactive site where students can use money and income to understand and appreciate how people make economic decisions around the world. Learn more about this site through this TEDTalk.
Econlowdown - Free online courses, resources and videos for K-12 and college, categorized by topic, lesson duration, language and resource type.
InCharge - Personal finance resources, including videos, links to free financial literacy comic books (in multiple languages), and teacher lessons, from PreK to high school.
Jump$tart - A clearinghouse for personal finance resources (free or purchase).
Morningstar’s Investing Classroom - Supplies information regarding how stocks and bonds work, what mutual funds are and how they work, and how to start investing.
MyMoney - Click on “Teachers and Educators” for curriculum and lesson plans and “Youth” for games and activities.
Next Gen Personal Finance - Provides teacher PD, curriculum (unit and semester), assessments, and a wide array of resources.
Numbeo - Provides current (constant user-contributed data) on world cost of living conditions.
Playspent - An online game of economic-decision making in order to survive poverty and homelessness. The game was created in North Carolina where the minimum hourly wage is lower than in Vermont, but it provides a real-life simulation of trying to make ends meet financially for a month.
SaverLife - Free program run by non-profit organization EARN. Every month that you save $20, they match your savings with $10 — up to $60 in six months.
TakeChargeAmerica - Provides lesson plans for grades 1-5.
TeachFinLit – A website of resources ‘created by educators for educators’ focused on teaching financial literacy to high school students.
For further information contact:
Martha Deiss at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (802) 479-1487 (Social Studies)
Doug Webster at email@example.com (Career and Technical Education)
Heidi Whipple at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (802) 479-1379 (Mathematics)