April 18, 2015
Education: Require Florida students to take a 'money course'

Photo:

Bright Ideas for Florida in 2014

Education: Require Florida students to take a 'money course'

| 12/2/2013

In 2010, the Legislature passed a law requiring students to complete a one-semester civics course in middle school that culminates in an exam they must pass to enter high school. Given students' lack of awareness of the Constitution and how American government works, that was a good call.

Adding more requirements to an already burdened K-12 public education agenda is problematic, but financial literacy is also fundamental to functioning in today's society. In 2013, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1076, which requires that personal finance standards be taught to all students in Florida as part of their required senior-year economics course. The law also required a report to the Legislature, which concluded that a stand-alone, full-semester money course could be offered to 11th-graders at a total cost of between around $139,000 (for a free online website) and $13 million over the first five years.

Consideration of a stand-alone money course came as the Florida Council on Economic Education convened a Financial Literacy Summit this year along with a group that included the University of South Florida, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Bay Cities Bank and the Florida Bankers Association. The group called for a full course in financial literacy coupled with testing and supported by teacher training.

Surveys consistently show that young college students are uninformed about financial fundamentals. In one survey, three-quarters of USF freshmen said they get all their information about money from friends and don't keep record of what they spend.

No high school student should graduate without a good understanding of personal finance, including realistic notions of their earnings potential along with the basics of saving and investing, managing a checking account, credit scores and college costs. Fourteen states mandate that stand-alone courses be offered, with testing, in personal financial literacy.

A study by the national-level Council for Economic Education found that students in states with required financial education courses "are more likely to save and less likely to max out their credit cards" compared to those without the courses. As Americans take on more of the financial burden of caring for ourselves and saving for our futures, the need for financial literacy will only become more important.

Tags: Bright Ideas

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

'Blue Cathedral' wine glass music
'Blue Cathedral' wine glass music

Unusual instruments will grace the stage as The Florida Orchestra plays "Blue Cathedral" by Jennifer Higdon.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Weekend poll: You might be a Floridian if you...

  • Own several pairs of flip-flops
  • Can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee , Withlacoochee , Thonotosassa and Micanopy
  • Think a hill is anything above flat
  • Bugs don't bother you (except love bugs when you're driving)
  • All of the above
  • Other (we know you have some - comments welcome!)

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe