Should high school students be taught proper education on topics related to money and finance? While many students study and learn such rigorous subjects, many do not learn about the fundamentals of money until well after they graduate high school. Now, high school students in the state of Oklahoma are required to learn finance education as part of their graduation requirement.
This May, the state legislation will teach students the importance of personal finance. The new law, which was passed in 2007, requires schools in the state of Oklahoma to instruct students on a variety of subjects related to money. There are a total of 14 standards students are required to understand. Among these standards, three of the hardest topics include bankruptcy, gambling, and charities.
The problem many schools face is the lack of widespread support for helping the students become educated on topics related to finance. Since not every school has the funding to add a finance course, some are finding alternatives to educating their students. Schools are adding finance curriculum into history or government classes, and others are going as far as running programs in computer classes as a quick way to educate students in this area. This has caused many teachers to feel like there is not a big enough push to help students learn about finance.
Amy Lee, executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, stated, “The problem is the openness in the law. It includes no funding for school districts to hire dedicated financial literacy teachers. Moreover, districts are permitted to implement the requirements in the 7th through 12th grades and use curriculum provided by the state Education Department or whatever they choose.”
The problem appears to be in the regulation of funding, as well as curriculum, when it pertains to schools and how they are supposed to educate their students on finance. With Oklahoma being one of seven states slashing education for public schools in grades K-12, it is not a surprise to see the state struggling with meeting this particular educational requirement.
Financial education is more important than you think
Students need to learn about retirement plans, investments, bankruptcy, and other topics vital to grasping all areas related to finance. The more educated a student is on money, the more likely they are to make informed and positive decisions that will help them budget their finances properly. The only problem is that the education should not be rushed or forced, which is what appears to be going on in many Oklahoma schools. Better management of the curriculum is necessary to ensure students are learning. However, this is a positive step in the right direction.
The truth of the matter is that a large number of Americans are bad at managing their money. In fact, more Americans have credit card debt than they have money stashed away in a savings account. Living with debt and without savings can lead to financial ruin if an unexpected big expense hits you.
Implementing financial education at the high school level could help prepare students for the future and learn how to wisely manage their finances.