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Financial Literacy in School

When your children go back to school this fall, will they be taking a class in "financial literacy"?

I attended a Boot Camp last week. No, it was not an exercise camp (although that’s much needed). It was a financial boot camp for educators! It was sponsored by the NJ Coalition for Financial Education ( NJCFE ).

It was a very interesting two days for me. First, I was the only “non-teacher” in attendance. I discovered that for a large majority of the teachers, they were going to be teaching personal finance for the first time this fall. This Boot Camp was their primary training on “personal finance” curriculum.

Did you know that the New Jersey State Board of Education added “at least 2.5 credits in financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy, effective with the 2010-2011 grade nine class” as a requirement for graduation? 

While this is an admirable policy (and a much needed life skill), a few of the teachers I spoke to at the Boot Camp felt like the requirements for students to graduate are becoming overwhelming. Some teachers spoke about all the other pressures of AP classes, standardized tests, and extracurricular activities such as sports, jobs or volunteering.

The good news is that the Boot Camp was informative and full of resources for the teachers to develop great curriculum on financial literacy. I plan to incorporate many of the materials into my workshops.

I’d like to hear from you:

What “financial literacy” courses are offered in your school district?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Amy Boroff September 01, 2011 at 08:35 PM
The demand for Junior Achievement of NJ's (JANJ) financial literacy, work readiness & entrepreneurship programs has significantly increased since the implementation of the 9.2 standards. Our statewide programs (offered at no cost to NJ schools) are delivered by trained corporate and community volunteers who share their skills and personal and professional experiences to make learning come to life! Our website (soon to be relaunched) is www.janj.org - we welcome the opportunity to share information on our K-12 programs and look forward to working with new schools this year as we reach 46,000 NJ youth!
Don September 02, 2011 at 06:41 AM
It would be good to teach both kids and adults to recognize financial BS when they see it, HOW to recognize it. (a BIG, common red flag for me is logical fallacies in use..) "Proof by vigorous gesticulation" is no proof at all.. Be wary of things you hear repeated over and over as fact. Many of them are not only lies, they are quite destructive because they create a sense of false security. With things as uncertain as they are, within sane limits, people should be saving every penny they possibly can. This may not be a temporary recession, it may be the beginning of a new pattern of economic shrinkage and concentration of wealth that leaves the middle class much smaller than it was in the recent past and the underclass much larger. We should be taking that possibility much more seriously and not doing the things we are in healthcare, for example. We are wasting literally half the money we spend on administration, we dont need "choice" we need a single national healthcare plan paid for by taxes that gives everyone the exact same high quality care and kicks the moneychangers out of the hospitals. Then and only then will the lions share of us get quality healthcare again. Healthcare is the biggest financial hole that we need to be literate about, to the tune of a quarter million dollars each of us pay extra to have the no-sayers say no, relative to a Canadian. With that wasted money we could all get top quality care, abd buy a house, have an extra child. Have a life..
Kevin September 02, 2011 at 12:18 PM
Advocating for a single payer healthcare system is not part financial literacy. Understanding how to limit the financial risks via various insurance programs in our current system would be appropriate. While I don't have any personal experience with the Canadian system, many Canadians I have met complain about extended wait times for what would be considered routine procedures here. Also, when I see Canadian political leaders opting to have their heart surgery here, it does make me wonder if that system is all that it is cracked up to be. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2010/02/02/nl-williams-heart-010310.html
Don September 02, 2011 at 07:33 PM
You are alluding, I am sure, to "consumer directed health care", the fact that the kinds of low value healthcare plans that are being promoted to make unaffordable, abysmal US healthcare look affordable have two parts, healthcare insurance, and also a savings account, which has to be larger, the less people spand on their plan.Obviously, it never works that way, its a scam that almost invariably fails Americans who become ill, because they cannot afford BOTH insurance, especially the obscenely expensive individual insurance they must buy without a group plan, in fact, sick Americans often miss a payment while they are sick, losing their insurance, kicking them into a system (Medicaid) that effectively strips them of equity before they can receive any help, (and then that help basically comes in the form of a LOAN.) Even working, well to do Americans can't afford quality healthcare any more. It doesn't exist in many communities. We are coasting on the past. Look at these URLS. Canadian Doctors for Medicare: http://www.canadiandoctorsformedicare.ca/Private-Health-Care-Myths/View-category.html?dir=DESC&limit=5&limitstart=0&order=date Mythbusters: http://www.chsrf.ca/publicationsandresources/Mythbusters/ArticleView/01-09-01/519f623f-b805-4550-93a5-648e60b8aad3.aspx RAMusa: http://ramusa.org/ Debunking US Healthcare lies about Canadian Healthcare: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/francis/archive/2009/05/12/health-care-lies-about-canda.aspx
Don September 02, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Americans who need it, are being kept away from utilizing healthcare by cost when they first need it, resulting in far higher costs later because they are far sicker at that point. Americans are given less access to diagnostic imaging and tests than people in most other developed nations, and there is no defensible reason for that. Americans are often misdiagnosed, our rates of medical errors are far higher and despite efforts being made to reduce them, the pressure on doctors to forgo important tests, in fact, the whole differential diagnosis approach, in favor of treating symptoms only, seems to be enormous. What is really happening is that working Americans are being quietly excised from modern medicine, ifwe are going forward its at a snails pace, and it seems to me that in many areas we are going backwards, healthcare is getting worse., Almost everywhere else in the developed world its getting better far faster than here. We are getting 80s or 90s medicine, if that.

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