Forty percent of 12-year-olds don’t know credit cards are a form of borrowing, according to a Consumer Reports survey. Teachers should “weave financial literacy” into their lessons, writes Anthony Colucci of Teacher Leaders Network.
Math teachers can engage students, meet standards, and teach essential financial literacy skills by creating problems based on grocery and department store catalogs and fliers. (This year, my students completed a project that culminated in a field trip to the neighborhood supermarket where they determined if they could afford to eat healthily on a budget.) Social studies teachers can compare the prices of salaries, food, and household goods from the 1920s to today’s prices, which provides an opportunity to discuss careers, inflation, and changes in society. Language arts teachers can teach critical reading skills by having students read and discuss news articles dealing with financial literacy. A science unit about natural disasters can incorporate information about the costs and benefits of having homeowners’ and automobile insurance.
Students with a college savings account — even a very small one — are seven times more likely to complete a college degree than non-savers, according to researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. That’s inspired the Partnership for College Completion — KIPP, the United Negro College Fund and the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development — top help low- and moderate-income students start college savings accounts, notes College, Inc.
KIPP schools in Washington, Chicago, Houston, New York and San Francisco will start the program, which will expand to 28 schools by the end of 2012. Each student will get a $100 starter deposit; contributions from the student’s family will be matched up to $250 a year.
Merit- and need-based scholarships will be offered to one-fifth of students. In addition, the program includes financial education classes and a college-readiness curriculum from the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute.