66% of states have a grade of C or worse in personal finance education

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A new report suggests that states could do a much better job of teaching financial literacy in their schools.

To this point, 66% of states have obtained grades of C or worse for such an education, according to Nation report card on financial literacyA study issued by the American Public Education Foundation.

Only 17 states have A or B grades.

“Many of our children are dropping out of school not fully equipped with the tools to function in this competitive global economy successfully,” said David Pickler, executive director of the American Public Education Foundation.

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Pickler, who is also a certified financial planner, as well as president and CEO of Pickler Wealth Advisors in Collierville, Tennessee, said.

The report relied on factors such as graduation requirements, standards, and curricula to create its degrees. Only five states—Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia—have an A for mandatory K-12 personal financial education and require a self-contained personal finance course for high school graduation.

Another 12 states received a B grade, 19 states received a C grade, and 12 states received a D grade.

Meanwhile, four locations — Alaska, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and South Dakota — received a grade of F for failing to guarantee any financial literacy education whatsoever.

Learning the basics at home is also inconvenient. While some parents may do a great job of teaching their children about money, many adults also lack financial knowledge.

“I understand the role of parents as ‘first teachers’…but in many cases, we have parents who are frankly distressed [unequipped ] To guide their children,” Pickler said.

“We believe in adult tools to improve their financial literacy as well, but we have to try to address the issue where it has the best chance of success, and that’s with… the children in our public schools,” she said.

Financial knowledge is truly an essential building block for a child’s ability to make good choices and their ability to survive and thrive.

David Pickler

Executive Director of the American Foundation for Public Education

Research shows that students who take personal finance classes are more likely to demonstrate responsible financial behaviour. For example, such courses reduce the likelihood of carrying a credit card balance by 21%, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.

The curriculum generally focuses on topics such as savings, credit, debt, investing, and financial decision-making, among others.

However, there is little consistency across states in how these instructions are delivered. Some require an extended course in personal finance while others offer it as part of another class, such as economics. Moreover, it is often not mandatory for students.

While a minority of states got fame in the foundation’s report, proponents hope the scores will improve. As of early June, 25 state legislatures have introduced or passed legislation this year that would increase access to financial education, according to Next generation personal finance invoice tracker software.

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