Spring is in the air (yeah!) and the results of the Survey of the States have now been released by the Council of Economic Education. The results demonstrate the current state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States and how it has changed over time.
The Council For Economic Education works to “ensure that K-12 economic and personal finance education is a priority in school systems across the country.” They provide free training for teachers and are among the leaders in the movement to helping all children receive financial education within the school curriculum.
Key Findings Include:
*Only 13 states require a course in personal finance to be taught, 2 fewer than in 2009.
*22 states require a high school course in economics to be offered, less than half the country.
Less than 20% of teachers report feeling very competent to teach personal finance topics. This is where the free teacher education provided by the CEE can provide a huge benefit.
Bottom line – financial education influences behavior
“Students from states where a financial education course was required had the highest reported financial knowledge and were more likely to display positive financial behaviors and dispositions. Compared to other students, these young adults were:
- More likely to save, pay off their credit cards in full and be willing to take average financial risk.
- Less likely to max out their credit cards, make late credit card payments or be compulsive buyers"
It really is quite simple to understand. When a person is exposed to something that is relevant to them and they have the opportunity to apply that knowledge in real life, they will learn valuable lessons that they can benefit from throughout life. You don’t know what you don’t know so if there is no exposure to financial education early on, our children will grow up with the major disadvantage of having no awareness of finances or how to prioritize and make good decisions. They won't experience the opportunity (and that's just what it is) of having managed their own money and the perspective of having learned from small mistakes along the way. Financial know-how is a life skill, and like any skill, it takes practice. It's also much easier to establish good habits at a young age, we all know how that goes.
Implementing financial education classes nationally will not only affect the future well-being of our children individually in regards to their future success and fulfillment, it will also significantly affect the economic and societal well-being of each and every country where standard financial education eventually occurs.