Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Imagine learning about stocks and bonds in the sixth grade. It’s what one curriculum in Baltimore City aims to do.
Gigi Barnett explains it’s a program that’s getting the attention of lawmakers.
Kia-Michelle Massey’s “stocks in the future” class at Mount Royal Middle School in Northwest Baltimore has a new student, and the lesson on bonds is a tough one.
Johns Hopkins University developed the curriculum for students. Between sixth and eighth grade, children learn how to make and invest money.
State Comptroller Peter Franchot heard about the class and decided to stop by.
“I guarantee you those kids in that classroom know more about economics and stocks and bonds than the average legislator does. All of us learn in the school of hard knocks. We were never taught,” Franchot said.
Sixth-graders Dominic Word and Kaya Cheatham take financial advice home.
“I told her to do a bond…To loan money to the government or a company that she really likes and then they’ll pay her back,” Cheatham said.
And they know which stocks are hot.
“I think I would invest in Coca-Cola because a lot of people buy Coca-Cola products and spend money like almost everyday,” Word said.
The course teaches students how to buy and sell stocks and bonds, how to watch out for the pitfalls like Ponzi schemes, and how to learn their investment style. If they do well, students can earn real cash and invest it themselves.
“When they get older, they’re not going to be afraid of money, and I think that’s the most important thing. Because they’re not going to be afraid of money means that they’re not going to let someone take advantage of them,” Massey said.
The students get the cash to invest through perfect attendance and high grades. Every year they can earn up to $80.
School leaders say the next step is taking the “stocks in the future” curriculum to parents.