WHY TEACH PERSONAL FINANCE IN SCHOOLS
Financial problems have reached epidemic proportions. People across the country and in your community are suffering from long-term financial problems. Consider the following statistics:
78% of workers live paycheck-to-paycheck61% would have trouble accessing $1,000 for an emergency$38,000 Americans average in personal debt (excluding home mortgages)$280 Billion Cost of Financial illiteracy to Americans each year
These challenges have far-reaching implications. Money affects much more than just people’s bank accounts – it permeates most areas of their lives. It has impact on central areas of our happiness and well-being: relationships, stress, health, productivity at work, lifestyle, lifespan, and community. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]
A Principal Factor Contributing to this Problem:
Most People Never Received High-quality Personal Finance Education
Most children are not taught about money, either at home or at school. Our youth graduate from the public school system lacking the financial knowledge they need to support even their basic human needs.
Only five U.S. states require a one-semester stand-alone personal finance class. Although these efforts are commendable, a one-semester course is far less than what is required to make a meaningful difference. Another 12 states claim they have personal finance classes; however, all are under one semester, they are not stand-alone classes, and most have no testing requirements. The remaining states completely fail our students in terms of helping them gain personal finance skills. [12, 13, 14]
Teach Personal Finance
Education in Public Schools
Sign the petition now to encourage policymakers to mandate and fund comprehensive personal finance courses in public schools. These courses should be stand-alone courses led by trained instructors and require standardized testing. Training should start in elementary school and gradually increase in cognitive rigor throughout the high school years to make a meaningful difference.
The Purpose of Public Education
Historically, public education was conceived as a method to educate children in order to prepare them to become productive members of society. David B. Tyack, influential education historian, concluded that the historic purpose of schooling focused on social and economic needs. Kathleen de Marrais, author The Way Schools Work, points to schools serving intellectual, political, social, and economic purposes.
The current subjects taught in public schools do not align with the core purposes of education. The public school system and policymakers alike are failing our children by not preparing them to meet their economic needs and undertake the community responsibilities that help produce self-sufficient adults. [15, 16, 17]
People Want Personal Finance Taught
Americans believe that personal finance should be taught in schools. Consider the following proportions of responses by U.S. participants in recent surveys:
Don’t Just Teach Personal Finance, Teach it Right
A few students do receive financial education in public schools. But most such programs are presented at a low level of cognitive rigor that won’t make a substantial difference in students’ financial lives. The available programs focus on low-level learning (recall and reproduction), require no testing, fail to address the behavioral aspects of money, and do little to prepare young people for early financial decisions and self-sufficiency in the real world.
Another troubling fact is that no states require teachers to be trained to deliver financial education – so many educators are teaching a subject they are neither qualified nor confident to teach. Given that teachers are the single most important factor in students’ learning, lacking competency to teach personal finance produces poor results. [19, 20]
Goal of this Petition
The objective of this petition is to influence policymakers to legislate that all students must take comprehensive personal finance programming. The results of this petition will give champions of financial education in their communities leverage to promote mandated financial literacy programs in public schools.
Through this effort, we will also reach out to policymakers based on the number of signatures we receive:
Federal & State Education Boards
All Members of Congress, Federal & State Education Boards
All Members of Congress, Federal & State Education Boards, County School Districts, Select City School Districts
We will mobilize a campaign to get 100,000 signatures within a 30-day window – the number required by the White House Petition website to get a formal response.
Sign the Petition:
Teach Personal Finance Education in Public Schools
Sign the petition now to encourage policymakers to mandate and fund comprehensive personal finance courses in public schools. These courses should be stand-alone courses led by trained instructors and require standardized testing. Training should start in elementary school and increase in cognitive rigor throughout the high school years to make a meaningful difference.