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11 States Failing in Personal Finance Education

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Eleven states were given failing grades when it comes to teaching personal finance to high schoolers, according to a grading system created by Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy.

Only seven states aced the grading system, and 60% of the country’s states received C, D or F grades.

The data comparing financial literacy requirements on a state-by-state basis is gathered only at the high school level, but many experts say personal finance education needs to begin well before the teenage years.

To get an F grade, the state will have few or no requirements for personal finance education in high school. The report from the Center for Financial Literacy notes that some school districts in those states may require or excel at such education, but the grade is based on statewide requirements. The same is true for C- and D-grade states.

For comparison, C-grade states either offer a personal finance elective or require personal finance topics to be taught. How those topics are integrated into curriculum is up to local school boards, and it is unclear how the states enforce the requirement.

D-grade states include personal finance topics in instructional guidelines and require school districts to implement them, but the topics do not have to be integrated into courses required for graduation. If personal finance is taught, it is often in elective courses, and the content requirements in those states vary widely.

The 11 States Failing Personal Finance Education

While many of these states have made legislative efforts to incorporate financial literacy education into the curriculum, the lack of statewide requirements led to their failing grades.

With the exception of Alaska and Rhode Island, each state includes personal finance topics in its educational guidelines. None of these states require school districts to teach personal finance topics, but some schools teach them in elective courses.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Nebraska
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

The Components of Strong Personal Finance Education

At the conclusion of the report, the Center for Financial Literacy listed factors of successful financial literacy education in high schools.

It recommended the following: Financial literacy topics should be taught in courses required for graduation, educators should be well-trained in the subject and students should be take assessment tests to ensure the education is working. It also stressed a need for funding to guarantee the implementation and measurement of these education requirements across the nation.

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