Financial Education and the American Student

Finances are a sore subject for a good majority of Americans. Full grown adults have little clue how to handle their finances on a daily. This is a contributing factor to the slugging economy we are faced with today. The problem can be relieved through simple education. In fact, public and private school systems across the country have begun mandatory financial education in high school in the hopes that more of the next generation will become financially conscious as they grow into adults.

Financial Education Programs

This is not a new concept. Some states have been implementing mandatory financial education for a number of years and more are joining the list each year. In 2007 a survey indicated that seventeen states required their high school students to take a mandatory economics class in order to graduate. A recent survey has found that now twenty-one states require an economics course in high school. The number of states requiring a personal finance courses has increased from seven to thirteen. Thirty-four states now have personal finance content standards. This is up from twenty-eight. Five states now require an entrepreneurship course in order to graduate as well.

Why Aren’t Kids Learning?

All this extra education doesn’t seem to be working though. Financial literary test scores have not increased in the last decade. The reason why kids are having a hard time learning the content is unclear. Many people believe that the children are fully capable of understanding the material; educators are simply unable to teach it well. Only thirty-seven percent of teachers can even say they understand the material. This is the ratio of teachers who have taken even one personal finance course in college. Only twelve percent of teachers have even bothered to take a course on how to teach personal finance to kids.

The general consensus is that teachers are more concerned with their own financial conditions rather than teaching their students. Most teachers did not get into teaching for the purpose of teaching kids how to balance their checkbooks. They have little desire to teach finance to their students.

Take Responsibility for Your Child’s Education

Our education system has been falling behind for years. It is no secret that we are far from the best country in education. Fifteen year old students were out performed and scored lower than twenty-three other countries and education systems in mathematics. The same students ranked nineteenth out of sixty-five in science. Studies have shown that the average American kid is at the bottom of the barrel in terms of received education not just in finance but across the board. The education system is failing our children. As parents, it is up to us to teach our kids about personal finance. Otherwise, they may fall victim to the same poor financial practices that plague our generation.