With so many Americans defaulting on mortgages and crushed by credit card debt, the campaign to require “financial literacy” for high school students is growing, reports MarketWatch.
Utah, Missouri and Tennessee require a one-semester personal-finance course, according to the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Another 17 states require personal finance to be included as part of another class, such as economics. What’s taught varies widely.
One thing is clear: Students in many states don’t get financial education. High-school seniors answered just 48% of questions correctly, on average, on a 31-question personal-finance survey by JumpStart in 2008. And that’s down from an average of 52% correct in 2006.
I’m reluctant to add more mandates to the curriculum. Perhaps if more students learned arithmetic, they’d be able to figure out how much they can afford to pay for housing, utilities, car payments, insurance, etc.
Update: Some Baltimore middle schools give students small amounts of money for good attendance and grades; students invest the money in stocks and track their returns or losses. Stocks in the Future was developed by Johns Hopkins.