“Nothing better captures the intersection of personalized, proficiency-based learning like financial literacy. Financial literacy is a vital skill for young people to develop, bringing real-world learning into the classroom and applying classroom learning to the real world. Encouraging teachers to innovate in this field will pay long-term dividends and help us build a strong, 21st-century, cradle-to-career education system.” - Dan French, Vermont Secretary of Education
In January 2018, the State Board of Education adopted the Jump$tart National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education. 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 and CTE centers. 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 (Education Quality Standards 2120.5, 2123.2).
The Importance of Financial Literacy
Financial literacy spans the continuum of education and can help prepare our students with the knowledge and skills needed to make wise economic decisions throughout their lifetime. When the Vermont Portrait of a Graduate (PoG) was developed collaboratively by over three hundred Vermont students, community members, and educators, financial Literacy was identified as a necessary attribute of a graduate. The Well-Being indicator of the PoG states: “Students have the knowledge necessary to make financially responsible decisions that are integral to their everyday lives”, including a focus on both smart financial decision making and future goals. Personal finance education helps students understand their role as independent adult consumers, fully prepared to make wise financial decisions with regard to earning, spending, and saving, as well as managing credit, debt, risk and investment for a lifetime of economic security.
State-Wide Focus on Personal Finance Education
In 2019, the AOE began a collaborative project with Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy, with funding provided through a grant from the Northfield Savings Bank Foundation, to improve personal finance education within Vermont. Through this collaboration, a Professional Learning Community (PLC) of sixteen K-12 content-area and special education educators from across the state was created to highlight age-appropriate personal finance resources and tools; develop sample financial literacy grade-banded K-8 and 9-12 performance indicators and Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements (PBGRs) which can be implemented in an interdisciplinary manner; identify connections between Personalized Learning Plans and financial literacy; and, provide state-wide K-12 training on how to teach and assess personal finance topics.
Tools and Resources
Financial Literacy Jump$tart Alignment to Curriculum:
Financial Literacy: Spotlight on Equity
The AOE-developed K-12 PBGRs has highlighted a “Spotlight on Equity” to provide a list of considerations for the purpose of providing an equity literate and socially conscious lens to the teaching and learning of personal finance. This Spotlight also serves to recognize the historic economic exclusion and marginalization of minority groups and communities. When grade-level appropriate, educators may use the topics to critically engage students in socially relevant financial literacy opportunities. Neither the enumerated considerations, nor the Spotlight on Equity Resources provided, are a complete list but rather a starting point on which to begin historically and socially relevant learning with a focus on personal finance.
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