Advocates Propose Financial Literacy Course For High School Students

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A proposal headed to the General Assembly could save your children and their families a lot of hardship in the future.

It’s a plan to have students pass a financial literacy course before they graduate high school.

Supporters tell political reporter Pat Warren it’s an economic necessity.

Carrol County students play the money game. In November 2009, WJZ visited a class at Francis Scott Key High School where students learn to manage their money.

“My parents should have taught me, and when I went off to college, there were a lot of things I just didn’t know or didn’t remember,” said Amy Brewer, a teacher at the school.

“Basically, I knew nothing,” Evan Richards, an advocate for financial literacy, said.

Richards is a Towson University student asking the General Assembly to make financial literacy mandatory in public schools.

“As soon as I started the Academy of Finance, I quickly caught on to all the different financial concepts,” he said. “And the thing that I found interesting was it’s not hard. It’s not hard to manage your finances. You just have to know how to do it.”

The bill passed the Senate but stalled in the House.

“A lot of people say the legislature should take the financial literacy course,” Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said.

Franchot is a champion of the cause.

“I tell kids to look at their hand and realize that their fingerprints are unique and they’re obviously permanent,” Franchot said. “But if they get into financial trouble and they get a bad credit score, it’s easier to change the fingerprint than it is to change that bad credit score.”

Advocates are hoping to get 10,000 signatures on a petition to take to Annapolis in January.

While the state debates the value of adding financial literacy to public school education, you might want to consider gathering the kids around you the next time you pay the bills.

Carroll, Harford, St. Mary’s and Baltimore counties are the only districts that have financial literacy requirements, a course students have to pass in order to graduate.

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