Lead Sponsor: Senator Jamie Eldridge
Summary: This bill would require that personal financial literacy be integrated into existing Math frameworks for all schools in the Commonwealth.
Variations on this bill have been filed in many previous sessions. In the 2009-2010 legislative session, this bill was introduced by Senator Susan Tucker. After being reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Education, it was unanimously passed in the Senate and was referred to the House Committee on Ways & Means, where it remained at the end of the session.
Why This Matters: Today’s youth are bombarded with a multitude of financial options and responsibilities at an increasingly young age. One out of every three teenagers has a credit card, and even more have an ATM card. Yet many are ill-equipped to make informed decisions about financial matters. They don’t understand fundamental principles of money management and the larger economy. As a result, teenagers are at a disadvantage when making important first financial decisions: buying a car, taking part or full-time employment, and using credit cards.
New college freshman have an average debt of $1,500 on personal credit cards. Four out of 10 Americans admit they are living beyond their means, primarily because of their misuse and misunderstanding of credit. Americans under 25 are filing for bankruptcy faster than any other age group. By teaching children the financial education basics in school, we will help them make educated financial decisions in the future, preventing future bankruptcies, foreclosures, and unmanageable debt.
This is a result that’s good for society as well as for individuals. Over the long term, the investment we make in teaching children financial literacy now will help strengthen our economy and prevent future economic crises.
At least thirteen states now require students to take a personal finance course or personal finance included in an economics course as a high school graduation requirement.
What this Bill Would Do: This bill would require that personal financial literacy be integrated into existing Math frameworks for all schools in the Commonwealth:
- Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to develop standards and objectives for personal financial literacy for grades K-12 in the mathematics curriculum.
- DESE would be required to assist with the implementation and provide resources to aid schools in the selection of materials.
- The bill would create an advisory committee charged with reviewing existing financial literacy programs and materials and submitting recommendations to DESE.
- The curriculum would include: understanding loans, borrowing money, interest, credit card debt, and online commerce; rights and responsibilities of renting or buying a home; saving, investing and planning for retirement; and banking and financial services.