Locally, school districts should add financial literacy to curriculum
Economic changes in recent years make personal financial literacy more important than ever. The emerging reality from the Great Recession and its slow recovery is that the challenge for upcoming generations will be to make their money do more and go farther than it did for their predecessors. That, in turn, will require financial management skills.
To that end, the Abington Heights School District has done its students a great favor with a decision to require them, beginning in the impending school year, to take a course in personal financial management.
Superintendent Michael Mahon, Ph.D., announced this week that all juniors will be required to take a non-credit financial literacy course as part of their writers workshop. Students will take the course on their own time and won't be graded, but teachers will monitor their progress and ensure they complete it.
Doing so will be of great benefit for students as they get older, beginning with those who go on to college and begin to accumulate personal debt for student loans.
According to the Council for Economic Education, students in states where financial education courses are required are more likely to save, less likely to max out credit cards and make late payments, more likely to pay off balances each month, less likely to be compulsive buyers and more likely to take average financial risks than their peers who do not take such courses.
Meanwhile, Abington Heights should not be the exception in recognizing students' need for personal financial literacy. All school districts should choose to follow suit, including locally in Bradford and Sullivan counties.
Pennsylvania is not among 14 states that require such instruction, but it should be so that all graduates understand at least the basics before they have to make decisions that carry a lifetime of consequences. The state Legislature should require personal financial literacy courses for all Pennsylvania students.