Financial Literacy Courses Should Be A Requirement For High School Graduation

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Financial Literacy courses should be a requirement for High School Graduation


Struggling for economic prosperity is difficult for everyone - and especially hard for young people who've never learned how to plan to achieve financial security. What we face today, confirmed by poor financial literacy test scores from across the country, is that we, as parents, teachers, and policymakers, don't seem to be teaching our children to avoid the mistakes of spending too much and saving too little.

It is rightly said that Financial Literacy courses should be a requirement for High School Graduation. The consequences of this gap in our country's education is evidenced by the increasing use of high cost credit services, such as payday lenders, as well as the record-breaking number of bankruptcy filings(Steven, Jeffrey, 1-90). The Federal Reserve reported that the typical family who filed for bankruptcy in 1997 owed more than one and a half times its annual income in short-term, high interest debt. This means that a family earning $24,000 had an average of $36,000 in credit card and similar debt. There is a financial education crisis in our country and a need for leadership in combating it.

Credit unions, working with our local schools, are ideally positioned to respond because we have always believed in the power of education and information put to practical use. The credit union movement's tradition of service and its philosophy of self-help make credit unions a natural source of leadership in the fight against economic ignorance(Manuel, 14-17). In terms of dollars and cents, estimates are that the purchasing power of young people between 5 and 19 years old is $150 billion annually.

Additionally, until fairly recently, credit card companies and retailers were willing to recognize limitations on capturing youth dollars. But now, with the advent of online shopping on the Internet, stored-value cards and aggressive credit card solicitation on college campuses, these barriers to youth spending are tumbling - and with them, the natural protections preventing our children from getting into financial difficulties.

The credit union movement pioneered the idea of prosperity through financial cooperation. Credit unions are community-based banks organized according to cooperative principles. In the early stages of development of a nation's financial system, unserved and underserved populations must rely on risky and expensive informal financial services from sources like money lenders, ROSCAs and saving at home. Credit unions proved they could meet demand for financial services that banks could not: from professional, middle class and poorer people. Those that served poorer urban and rural communities became an important source of microfinance(Nissenbaum, 15-65). With the support of lawmakers and teachers, credit unions intend to lead America's youth to financial selfreliance through education and the benefits of credit union membership.

How Can We Get Financial Education into Our Schools?

Increase the Awareness of the Wide Spread Implications of Financial Illiteracy: The role that financial illiteracy plays in our nation's social and economic tragedies must be clearly demonstrated to parents, teachers, policymakers and citizens. Financial illiteracy results in poor spending, saving, and ...
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