April is Financial Literacy month! What a great opportunity to talk to our children and young adults to find out what they know and how to improve on it.
High school students do most of their learning about money and finances from parents. But many parents do not feel equipped to teach their children about financial issues. In 2018, the research group Brookings Institute published a large-scale review of youth financial literacy, which showed a continued failure of U.S. high school students to pass simple financial literacy tests. In fact, in a 2008 literacy test by Jump$tart, high school seniors averaged 48.3%—more than 10 points lower than a passing grade. We need to do better for the sake of our children. And we can start both at home, but also in supporting our schools.
Talk to your children’s teachers and school administrators and discover what they provide in financial literacy. In 2011, Minnesota passed the Minnesota K-12 Social Studies Standards that went into effect in the 2013-2014 school year. The goal of these Standards was to provide Minnesota students with some training in economics. Of the 34 economic education benchmarks for students 1-12 grade, 5 are related to personal finance.
While most schools do not have the funding to add programs, there is support available for schools. BestPrep is a Minnesota based non-profit organization that provides educational programs to students in grades 4-12. They have developed many programs which are available at no cost to schools. One such program is Money Matters. They provide volunteers from the financial industry who go into schools and teach classes about personal finance. They have financial experts volunteering to develop presentations that not only address the Social Studies Standards, but go beyond. They work with students on understanding money basics like budgeting, credit vs. debit, and credit scores. Additionally, BestPrep provides volunteers e-mentors for classrooms as they discuss financial topics. The students can e-mail questions to their e-mentors who respond not only with answers, but with new ways to look at their personal finances.
Another way you could be involved is to volunteer with a group of students and participate in the Stock Market Game. You do not need to be a financial expert to run this game. BestPrep provides training and on-going support. The curriculum not only provides students with an education in business, economics, and financial literacy, but also gives students a richer understanding of the U.S. economic system, current events, and teamwork. To see all that BestPrep has to offer go to www.BestPrep.org.
There are many organizations that not only work with students, but provide individual guidance for any adult interested in helping youth achieve financial literacy. Check out some of the great resources listed below to learn more about what you can do!
Share Save Spend – www.sharesavespend.com
The Financial Educators Council – www.financialeducatorscouncil.org
The Mint.org – www.TheMint.org