The Importance of Financial Literacy Education & Research

     Educators and MCEE Supporters, consider having your students, colleagues, friends, and family members measure their own financial literacy by taking this 3 question quiz from GFLEC, the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC click here).  These 3 questions can be especially telling about their level of financial literacy knowledge. In fact, according to Professor Anna Maria Lusardi, GFLEC’s Academic Director, and as indicated in the 2015 National Financial Capability Study, 44% of the respondents that did not know the answer to at least 1 of the 3 basic questions, also similarly, reported being “financially fragile” (Lusardi, 2016). What does it mean to be “financially fragile”? (Lusardi & Tufano, BPEA, 2011). According to the survey, it is those individuals that specified their inability to come up with $2000 to cover an unanticipated expense (Lusardi & Tufano, BPEA, 2011).

Lusardi and Tufano attribute, based on survey results, “financial fragility” as either a “symptom of a lack of assets”, or a “lack of borrowing capacity of highly leveraged households” (Lusardi, 2016). But what is so telling for the Maryland Council on Economic Education’s work, is that 42% of millennials fell within the “financially fragile” category (Lusardi, 2016).  So clearly inferred is that young people could benefit from enhancing their financial education skills.  Additionally, in the 2015 FRB Survey of Household Economics and Decision-making (SHED), 46% of the respondents indicated that they would have trouble coming up with even $400.00 to cover an unanticipated expense (Lusardi, 2016). And, if you are wondering if a rigorous high school financial literacy education standards matter, consider listening to the following presentation by Max Schmeiser, a Senior Economist from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, on the Effectiveness of Financial Education in High Schools. In a study of 3 states with rigorous financial literacy education standards, Schmeiser found that students (after graduation) tended to have higher overall credit ratings and better performing payment histories than students whose states lacked the same approach to financial literacy education (Schmeiser, 2015).

Educators, and Financial Capability Supporters, as we begin a new year, we hope that you will consider either supporting or taking part in Maryland Council on Economic Education financial literacy education programming.  Given the impact of our young peoples’ first financial decisions such as whether or not to seek post-secondary training, and how to pay for it, and their noted “financial fragility”, we think you’ll agree, that what we do in promoting financial and economic education matters.

References:

Lusardi, Annamaria (2016). www.gflec.org. Household Financial Fragility: Evidence and Implications. Retrieved on December 6, 2016 from http://gflec.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Lusardi-Dartmouth-v5-9.29.16.pdf.

 

Schmeiser, Max, (2015). www.gflec.org. What’s the Big Idea in Financial Literacy; Effectiveness of Financial Education in High Schools. Retrieved on December 6th, 2016, from http://gflec.org/initiatives/big-ideas-in-financial-literacy/.

Caveat Emptor; The “Student Loan Debt Crisis”

Fellow Educators and Supporters,

Given the current “student loan debt crisis”, we believe it is important now more than ever to discuss with high school students how an individual school or educational program fits within their personal, professional AND individual financial goals. Oftentimes, students and/or parents do not fully understand the financial impact of financing college until they are in the midst of the college experience or after college. And, in some cases, this may result, over the long term, in students and parents postponing their long-term goals and/or weakening their short and long term financial well-being.

According to Consumer Reports (June 2016), “42 million Americans” are “bearing $1.3 trillion in student debt” and as a result “that’s altering lives, relationships, and even retirement” (Steele & Williams, 2016). What’s important for consumers to consider is that the Student Loan industry is a money making venture and understandably so in a mixed market economic system (Steele & Williams, 2016). But, the “industry is faring a lot better than a lot of the students” reportedly, making approximately “$140 billion a year” (Steele & Williams, 2016).

And interestingly enough, the profitability is not just within the private sector. According to the “Department of Education’s own calculations, the government earned an astonishing 20 percent for the loans it made in 2013” (Steele & Williams, 2016). At present, the U.S. government “holds” approximately “93% of the $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans” (Steele & Williams, 2016). While going to college or seeking postsecondary training is certainly beneficial for individuals and the general economy, considering how this investment will pay off over the long run, and how you pay for the products and services that help you achieve your goal is also key to ensuring your investment pays off. Although progress has been made to make the industry more in-tune to the borrower and his/or her ability to pay, “one in four borrowers are behind in their payments” and “7.6 million are in default” (Steele & Williams, 2016).

So what this boils down to for both students and parents is that it pays to be a savvy consumer. That is, for households to avail themselves with the information necessary to make informed choices about the costs involved in the college or postsecondary education decision and its financing options. And once the initial choice is made (prior to commitments), to find out the cost of the opportunity not taken. It may be that your second-best college or vocational choice, may actually fit better within your personal, professional, and financial goals. There are a number of tools that both parents and students can use to help with this decision. Some of these tools are noted below. Although research supports that a college degree pays over the long term, this is given that households responsibly manage their income, expenditures and wealth over time. And of course, this includes best positioning our students for success; finding out the true costs of their college or vocational options (including financing) prior to the actual decision. So, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

Parents, students and teachers, check out this online series of articles from Consumer Report (June 28, 2016) on the student loan debt crisis. It’s an interesting read: http://www.consumerreports.org/student-loan-debt-crisis/lives-on-hold/

Also, please note, I have attached a number of online links that may help teachers, parents and students navigate the student loan process.

References:

James B. Steele and Lance Williams (2016, June 28).www.consumerreports.org. Student Debt: Lives on Hold. Retrieved on July 13, 2016, from http://www.consumerreports.org/student-loan-debt-crisis/lives-on-hold/

 

Resources for Parents and Students:

  • Consumer Finance Protection Bureau “Paying for College”

 

 

 

 

  • Federal Student Aid

 

 

Resources for Teachers:

  • Investing in a College Education (12 lesson plans & teaching resources)

 

 

  • Saving for College

 

https://www.stlouisfed.org/education/continuing-feducation-video-series/episode-2-saving-for-college

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students may also like to find out the demand and median income for their future vocation when balancing college costs. Check out these two options to share with your students:

 

 

Happy Financial Literacy Month Teachers and Fellow Personal Finance Education and Financial Capability Supporters!

Financial Literacy Month provides us a wonderful opportunity to highlight the importance of Personal Finance Education! And, it offers a special chance to remind folks about why we do what we do. We offer professional development for teachers because it takes “on average, 20 separate instances of practice, before a teacher has mastered a new skill” (www.centerforpubliceducation, 2013 and Ermeling, 2010; Joyce and Showers, 1982). The difficulty for teachers lies not necessarily in learning new information, but rather in “implementing” these concepts into practice (www.centerforpubliceducation, 2016; Ermeling, 2010; Joyce and Showers, 1982).

What we do is to provide teachers with the financial literacy content and resources they need to feel both more confident in their knowledge and in implementing the standards in their classroom. The strategies and teaching resources we offer are designed to make it easier for educators to implement the financial literacy standards, and often, for elementary teachers especially, finding a way to work smarter, not harder, by teaching across the curriculum.  In other words, by using trade books, both fiction, and non-fiction, to provide teachers the opportunity to hit the Maryland English Language Arts College and Career Ready Standards, while at the same time, teaching financial literacy content. For Middle and High School educators, we encourage you to check out not only our website, but also www.econedlink.org for all kinds of great financial literacy teaching resources.

It is important to note, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s (cfed) Scorecard, that although Maryland is ranked #1 for financial literacy education policy, our state’s 2016 statistics place us 22 out of 50 states in terms of the data that correlates and supports “household financial security” and its “policy solutions” (cfed’s “Scorecard”, www.assetsandopportunity.org, 2016).

This shows that we still have considerable work to do to make sure that by the time that our students are adults that they have the skills and knowledge necessary to better position long-term financial well-being. Middle and High School teachers, consider using some of cfed’s infographics in your classroom for financial literacy month! (www.assetsandopportunity.org/scorecard/newsroom/media_resources/infographics/)

This month, teachers, we hope you will take this opportunity to dedicate at least a few hours a week to teaching about financial literacy. To make your job easier, feel free to visit our resource page on www.econed.org, and/or check out the Council on Economic Education’s (CEE) Financial Literacy Month Calendar which features a financial literacy lesson for every day in April (http://goo.gl/J1LR4u).  CEE is also showcasing personal savings stories of people like fashion designer Elie Tahari, and national best-selling author Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and entrepreneur Rosie Pope for each day in April.  Feel free to share them with your students.  In fact, have the students create their own personal savings stories!  To view the #savingstories, follow this link, www.facebook.com/councilforeconed/.

Teachers, send us some activities that you have planned for this month to celebrate Financial Literacy Month by contacting kkokernak@towson.edu.  We’ll share them with other teachers on Twitter to help spread Financial Literacy Awareness! Also, consider registering for our Financial Literacy Summit scheduled to take place on June 28th, 2016, www.econed.org/events.

References:

Corporation for Enterprise Development, (2016). Cfed Scorecard, www.assetsandopportunity.org. Retrieved on April 1, 2016, from www.assetsandopportunity.org/scorecard/

Center for Public Education, (2013). Teaching the Teachers, www.centerforpubliceducation.org. Retrieved on April 1, 2016, from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/teachingtheteachers

 

What’s the “Value Add” Connection Between Teacher Training and Student Performance?

Teachers and Supporters, if you are looking for information to share with friends and colleagues about the value add of a highly trained and skilled teaching professional, and its’ impact on students, check out, “The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood” (Chetty, R. et al, 2011).

In this Working Paper shared by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff (2011), found “1 standard deviation” in teacher content and skill enhancement translates to a “.1 standard deviation in students’ end of the year test scores”.1 Even more interesting, according to the study, is that “Value Add” teachers also enhance the probability of students going to college, finishing college, and offer statistical evidence of increases in students’ long term earning potential.2  (Value Add teachers are those teachers that have participated in course training and professional development programs that lead to the designation of “highly qualified” educators.) The study also notes that students of “Value Add” teachers are statistically less likely to experience teen pregnancy and have better “retirement savings rates”. 3

This study offers evidence as to why the Maryland Council on Economic Education provides high quality teacher professional development and resources to foster economic and financial literacy education.  We believe, based on credible research and experience that the more we can provide teachers with the training and resources they need to confidently teach economics and personal finance, the more likely our students are to adopt the skills necessary to become financially savvy consumers both in the near and long term.

To take a look at our upcoming program options, go to our “workshops”, “events” and “classroom resources” page on our website.  Of particular note is our 8th Annual Financial Literacy Summit on June 28th, 2016, at the Radisson North Baltimore Hotel. For more information, follow this link: http://www.econed.org/summit/.

 

Footnotes:

 1. Chetty, R., Friedman, J. and J.E. Rockoff (Dec. 2011) www.nber.org. The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood. NBER Working Paper No. 17699, December 2011, Revised January 2012, p. 3-4.

2. Ibid, p. 3-4.

3. Ibid, p. 3-4.

 

Reference:

Chetty, R., Friedman, J. and J.E. Rockoff (Dec. 2011). www.nber.org. The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood. NBER Working Paper No. 17699, December 2011, Revised January 2012.

 

Evaluating Fin Lit Resources & Upcoming Workshops

Teachers and Supporters,

Happy New Year!

We, at MCEE, have a great year planned! To start, we are excited to offer a Part II to our Elementary Financial Literacy Institute in February! And, thanks to our past participants and supporters, we have a waiting list for the course! Teachers that didn’t make the first class will have an additional opportunity this summer.

In addition, we are taking our Secondary Financial Literacy Institute on the road to Salisbury University on February 20th, 2016, and in Southern Maryland, on March 12th, 2016. To register, follow this link, www.econed.org/workshops/

On another note, we wanted to share a research report and its findings that the Rand Corporation published in October 2015, on behalf of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Specifically, they were asked by the CFPB to review Financial Education research and curricula to develop and offer a K-12 Rubric.  The intent was to provide a tool for teachers and administrators to help evaluate the many financial education resources on the market to determine what works best for their individual school system and community.

The research study also offers a review of the current research on both financial education and financial behavior as well as a brief synopsis of research on specific financial education products. It is important to note that some of the research is inconclusive or must be considered in light of certain constraints such as participant self-selection, the term of the study, or the lack of randomized controls, just to name a few (Herman et al., 2015).

Nonetheless, as evidenced by the Great Recession, it is generally agreed that there is substantial data to support that many Americans do not have the “skills or resources” that is required to “withstand an economic shock” (Herman et al., p. ix). And, that one way to combat this issue, is to provide financial literacy education to both elementary and secondary students.

The Maryland Council on Economic Education and our national affiliate, the Council on Economic and Financial Education, offer materials that have been vetted and evaluated using educational best practices. We also offer nationally normed and vetted assessments.  And, that despite the constraints identified in the Keys to Financial Success Study, the study indicates a positive correlation between using specific Council on Economic Education’s Financial Literacy teaching materials and the increase in students’ financial literacy knowledge. We hope you will check out this important study and useful rubric to assess and evaluate the tools that work best for your financial literacy needs. We believe that you will find that our resources correlate with the characteristics identified for quality resources.  Have a great New Year and we hope to see you at one of our upcoming workshops!

Reference:

Herman, Rebecca, Angela A. Hung, Jeremy Burke, Katherine Grace Carman, Noreen Clancy, Julia H. Kaufman and Katie Wilson. Development of a K–12 Financial Education Curriculum Assessment Rubric. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2015. http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1142.html.

What’s New at MCEE & Important Info on Jobs, Credit & Insurance

Hello Teachers and Maryland Council on Economic Education Supporters!

We, at the Maryland Council on Economic Education, hope you have had a great summer!  This summer we have been busy creating, revising and aligning lesson plans and programming for the 2015/2016 school year to help you meet the demand for College and Career Ready, and PARCC “friendly” teaching resources.  Expect to see the new and revised resources published beginning September 1, 2015, on www.econed.org/resources/.  To see a sampling of our offerings and web site changes, check out the list below:

  • We devised a two to three week Financial Literacy Unit for High School to support those teachers tasked with teaching Personal Financial Literacy Curricula under time constraints.
  • Staff authored a new high school lesson plan called “What is Credit and How Does It Affect Financial Decisions?”
  • Competition dates for the year have been set; Econ Challenge, H.S. and M.S. Personal Finance Challenge, and A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Poster Contest.
  • Mark your calendars for the kick off of the Stock Market Game TM for grades 4th-12th, beginning in September 2015. Contact dbaker@towson.edu to register.
  • A revised k-12 matrix of financial literacy lessons linked on both the MCFL and MCEE website.
  • We have aligned most if not all of our lessons plans to correlate with Maryland College and Career Ready Standards.

MCEE has also kept abreast of new developments and topics in the world of economic and financial education.  Of particular note are several articles on credit and debt that may be of interest to both you and your students.  Since we reside in an area (the Maryland/D.C. Metro Area) where there are a considerable number of military, government and contractor jobs that require security clearances, you may want to emphasize with your students how credit scores and delinquent debt can impact these clearances.

According to the Department of Defense’s Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information, “financial considerations” such as excessive or delinquent debt, can lead to either the denial or loss of a security clearance (Fay, 2015). The rationale behind this is that debt delinquency suggests that the individual in question may have certain character traits that predisposes a person to certain behaviors that could potentially compromise sensitive information or security (Fay, 2015). That being said, if the person in question has made a good faith effort to correct the situation, and or, that the delinquency was the result of circumstances beyond the individual’s control, the security clearance may not necessarily be declined.  For more information on this topic, check out the articles cited below “How Being in Debt Affects Military Clearances”, and “The Impact of Delinquent Debt on Security Clearances”.

Another article, published in the July 30th, 2015 edition of Consumer Reports, describes how credit scores affect car insurance premiums. In fact, according to a two year study conducted by Consumer Report, insurers are more likely to base premium pricing on your credit behavior rather than your driving record (Blyskal, 2015).  Probably the most disconcerting information in the article is that unlike credit reporting agencies, insurers are generally not as transparent about how they arrive at an individual’s premium pricing. For example, the article states that the insurer may “cherry-pick 30 of 130” possible variables used on a credit report to determine premium pricing.  And, that they also use this information to “predict” the “likelihood of filing a claim” (Blyskal, 2015).

The article goes on to detail that some insurers engage in what is known as “price optimization”; a practice where insurers assess clients’ shopping behaviors to determine how likely they are to switch companies when prices are raised (Blyskal, 2015). Certainly, these articles may help reinforce the importance of building those skills necessary to become an informed consumer and may help grab your students’ attention about the relevance of financial literacy.

Lastly, check out the relaunch of www.econedlink.org , CEE’s free economic and financial education teacher resource for k-12 educators! The site is now even more “user-friendly” and technology savvy!

Blyskal, J. (2015, July) www.consumerreports.org. Secrets of Car Insurance Prices. Retrieved on August, 3, 2015, from, www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/07/car-insurance-prices/index.htm#

Fay, B. (2015). www.Debt.org. How Being In Debt Affects Military Clearances. Retrieved on August 3, 2015, from https://www.debt.org/veterans/military-security-clearances/.

Henderson, W. (2008). www.news.clearancejobs.com. The Impact of Delinquent Debt on Security Clearances. Retrieved on August 3, 2015, from https://news.clearancejobs.com/2010/01/28/the-impact-of-delinquent-debt-on-security-clearances/

Spring into Summer Fun with Economics and Financial Literacy; Check Out Our Upcoming Events!

Come one, come all, get your feet wet starting now through summer learning about how you can integrate economics and financial literacy into your curricula!  We have all kinds of fun and interactive resources and workshops scheduled from now through the summer.

Looking for something fun to do with your students to finish out the year?  Check out our FREE Stock Market Game TM that runs from May 5th through June 27th.  To register, follow this link to www.stockmarketgame.org. The Stock Market Game, affectionately referred to as SMG TM, offers teachers a great way to teach across the curriculum by reinforcing concepts learned in English, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Math.  The game is open to grades 4th through 12th. You might even consider this as an opportunity to check out all the lessons and materials that the Stock Market Game TM (SMG) has to offer so that your classes in the 2015/2016 school year have another opportunity to use the skills that correlate well with the College and Career Ready Curricula.

MCEE also has plenty of summer fun scheduled so in between your travels, consider registering and coming to our summer programs. Begin with MCEE’s Financial Literacy Summit scheduled for June 25th, 2015.  The Financial Literacy Summit features different tracks to accommodate K-12 teachers and offers a variety of presentations and resources, free of charge.  We even pay a $50.00 stipend to help offset travel expenses!  To register, follow this link: www.econed.org/events/.

And, just in case you didn’t have enough fun in the sun, we also have a workshop titled Common Sense Economics for Life.  This July 1st workshop for secondary teachers provides not only engaging and fun content, but also includes free resources and a travel stipend. To register, click here: www.econed.org/events/. The registration deadline is May 15th, 2015th.

For elementary teachers, we have two professional development workshops scheduled for August 10th, and August 12th, 2015, called Teaching Financial Literacy Standards, Grades K-5.  This comprehensive workshop is free to participants and offers lesson plans, fiction, and informational texts to help reinforce financial literacy curricula in Maryland elementary classrooms. To register, go to www.edoned.org and click on “events”.

Just when you think you haven’t heard enough great offers for a fun-filled summer, check out some of our recent teacher accomplishments.  Congratulations to Flo Falatko of Cromwell Valley Elementary in Baltimore County for not only winning the Maryland Financial Education and Capability Teacher of the Year sponsored by MSDE, MCEE, and the MD. CASH Campaign, but for all her daily accomplishments in the classroom as detailed in the recent Baltimore Sun article Excel at Financial Literacy.  Consider reading about how Flo integrates economics and personal finance into her 5th grade class by organizing a class economy complete with student occupations, and a class store!  But the crème de la crème is how she uses the Stock Market Game TM to engage her students in understanding the nuances of saving and investing.

We also would like to give a shout out to Susan Baudoin who teaches at Parkdale High School in Prince George’s County for all her work on behalf of financial literacy and for her support for Maryland Council on Economic Education programs.  Susan is the recipient of the Maryland Financial Education and Capability Teacher of the Year for high school.  The middle school Maryland Financial Education and Capability Teacher of the Year was awarded to Sheryl Crow from Severna Park Middle in Anne Arundel County in celebration of her work on behalf of financial literacy.

You too can be a the Maryland Financial Education and Capability Teacher of the Year by jumping into economics and financial literacy curricula by modeling best practices in economic and financial literacy education using Maryland Council on Economic Education and our national affiliate, the Council on Economic Education’s strategies and resources to teach Maryland students.  We hope you consider joining us this summer for plenty of fun in the sun!

Let’s Celebrate Financial Literacy Month!

K-12 teachers, celebrate Financial Literacy month all during the month of April with the Maryland Council on Economic Education by committing to teach, at least once a week, personal finance in your content area! How is this possible?  Well, we make it easy, no matter what grade level you teach!

Elementary teachers, we have a whole smorgasbord of free lesson plans connected to fiction and informational texts on our website, www.econed.org/teacher-resources/.  Pre-K to kindergarten teachers, check out Making Money, a lesson that teaches students to recognize money and identify the items that can be purchased with money.  Grade 1 teachers, try using Making Choices, a lesson plan that walks students through the decision-making process and the basics of opportunity costs.  Grades 2 and 3, consider the Candy Shop or Mama Panya’s Pancakes, lessons that teach students to recognize markets and to distinguish between goods and services. Grades 3-5 teachers, try using Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock, a book that teaches students about savings and the significance of compound interest. Or consider Isabel’s Carwash, a really fun way to underscore the importance of capitalizing on human resources, personal skills, to help realize income that will aid in achieving individual short and long-term goals. Isabel’s Carwash also explains how buying shares in a business can potentially lead to dividends, additional income.

Middle school teachers, we offer several lessons that introduce the advantages of comparison shopping, the nuances of contracts, and the importance of saving.  These concepts and skills are covered in Catalogue Ordering, Making a Contract, and Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock.

Plus, for elementary through high school, teachers have access to www.econedlink.org, a free online lesson portal offered by our national affiliate, the Council on Economic Education. Teachers can search by grade level, subject, and concept to find the economics and personal finance lessons, interactive resources, and videos that best complement your curricula. Middle school teachers, check out some of my personal favorites, the Ad Detective and Do I Look like I’m Made of Money?

Also, 8th grade teachers interested in the Civil War may want to take advantage of a special workshop titled Multiple Perspectives on the Civil War held at the Maryland Historical Society on April 18th, 2015. Teachers will receive economics, history, geography, and technology resources and content focused on the Civil War. To register, follow this link http://www.econed.org/workshops/. Please note that the registration deadline is March 27th, 2015.

High school teachers, www.econedlink.org, has many lessons that reinforce Maryland Personal Finance Standards.  Consider using The 411 on College Education, this lesson uses a cost/benefit analysis to examine college advertising, college costs, loans, opportunity costs, and the benefits of education to enhancing one’s human capital.  The Credit Card Mystery, also complements Maryland Curricula by teaching students to evaluate and weigh the costs and benefits associated with credit.   Another lesson with timely content is Mobile Phones Matter.  This lesson examines the costs and benefits associated with using cellphones for financial management and financial decision-making. These lessons are just a few examples of this rich resource available to teachers.

Using the old adage, “April showers bring May flowers”, we hope that you will consider showering your students with all sorts of personal finance concepts!  For enriching students’ knowledge with personal finance will help build the skills necessary for making more informed financial decisions!

Baltimore Middle-Schoolers Learn Stock Market Basics

Baltimore middle-schoolers learn stock market basics

Khyree Desaque, a seventh-grader at Hampden Elementary/Middle School, is learning a skill many adults find foreign — how to trade on the stock market.

“He’s all in on Sony,” said the 12-year-old’s father and the school’s principal, Khaleel Desaque. “He’s a PlayStation fanatic, so I’m not surprised.”

Desaque is among the students at the school participating in the Stocks in the Future program, which offers students real money as reward for good attendance and grades and teaches them how to invest. Students can buy stock in companies they’re familiar with, like video game giant Electronic Arts, Coca-Cola, and Facebook. When they turn 18, ownership of the stocks transfers into their names.

The Stocks in the Future organization, a nonprofit that counts Goldman Sachs, the Abell Foundation and Deutsche Bank among its donors, is one of a number of groups trying to teach children financial skills that few learn in school — if ever. The organization trains teachers and funds the program in 15 Baltimore middle schools, one school in Baltimore County and one school in Washington.

One recent morning, the eighth-graders in Jesse Chacona’s class at Hampden Elementary/Middle were getting a primer on concepts many adults never learn, like how to evaluate a publicly traded company’s balance sheet, what’s cash flow, or why a CEO issues an annual letter to shareholders.

During a break, the students, some of whom said they read up on financial news or follow stock trends at home, took turns telling the rest of the class what they were getting out of the experience.

“I like going home and teaching my parents. Like, they know stuff, but they don’t know as much as I do,” said Samantha Morris, 13. “And it’s kind of cool that young children know more than half of adults.”

Raven Wheat, 13, said she explains the financial industry to her grandmother, sometimes when they watch television together and news comes on about the Dow Jones industrial average.

“She gets really confused because I’ll talk about it and I’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s gone down’ or ‘That’s gone up,’ or I’ll say ‘industry average’ or something,” she said.

In the Stocks in the Future class, the students can earn up to $80 a year for good attendance — a goal of the program is to reduce truancy — and grades on tests and other activities. They can take the program for each of their three years in middle school. In the meantime, their portfolios grow, or fall, until ownership transfers into their names when they turn 18. In 2013, one student turning 18 had seen his portfolio grow to $500.

The 15-year-old program is only in schools where more than half the students are in the free and reduced-price lunch programs.

“We’re trying to teach healthy financial habits, and we’re also trying to empower students,” said Rebecca Lange-Thernes, the program’s director. “We’re trying to let them see themselves as investors in their future. A lot of people in poverty are living day-to-day.”

The last decade has brought “incredible growth” in public awareness of the need for financial literacy, in part because of the recession, said Laura Levine, the president of Jump$tart Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based collective of financial literacy groups.

“Everywhere you look, there was news about the recession, about the economy, about jobs, about the financial services industry,” Levine said. “We didn’t have to convince people that it was important, people could feel it.”

But Levine said the recession brought challenges along with interest as the recession forced schools to tighten their belts.

“It’s a hard time to be introducing new content or new programs when the school environment nationwide is cutting back,” she said.

The Maryland State Board of Education adopted regulations in 2010 requiring schools to offer financial literacy in elementary, middle and high schools. But in many cases, the instruction is built into the curriculum of a class like social studies and not offered as a stand-alone option.

Allen Cox, the coordinator of a different program in which children trade $100,000 in virtual stocks called the Stock Market Game, said children need to learn skills early because of ballooning American college loan debt, the uncertainty over the future of Social Security and the elimination of traditional pension plans. The Maryland Council on Economic Education has been offering the Stock Market Game in Maryland K-12 schools since 1977 and had 7,450 students participate last year.

“We need to teach our kids how to save and invest and we need to do that early because of compound interest and dividends on top of interest, because that’s the only thing that’ll allow them to retire,” Cox said. “I worry that this may be the first generation in over 100 years that doesn’t retire.”

Cox said the rollout of new requirements for financial literacy education in the state since 2010 has been “uneven.”

“Some schools are doing a better job than others,” he said. “It really comes down to the individual teacher in the classroom.”

Chacona, a seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher who teaches the Stocks in the Future class at the school once a week, acknowledged to the class that he was “learning along with the rest of them,” taking professional development training to master the concepts he was now teaching.

As the class wrapped up, Marcus Aiello, Stocks in the Future board member and an investment manager at Deutsche Bank who was visiting for the day, asked the students whether they would want to become stockbrokers for a living.

Almost every hand in the room shot up.

 

Works Cited:  

Taken from The Baltimore Sunhttp://www.baltimoresun.com/business/money/bs-bz-stocks-in-the-future-20150209-story.html

Financial Literacy and Research Findings on State Mandated Financial Education and the Credit Behavior of Young Adults

Knowledge Pay$ Off Readers,

In 2010, the Maryland Department of Education mandated that personal financial literacy education be taught in specific grade bands in K-12 curricula.  That being said, each LEA has the ability to determine how best to integrate financial education into their individual school districts. This coupled with the infusion of College and Career Ready Standards, school systems and individual teachers are recognizably challenged in planning their already limited professional development time.

However, here is where the Maryland Council on Economic Education can help.  We offer free professional development in economic and financial education and provide resources to help educators teach the concepts required in the standards.  Through our institutes, workshops, and programs, we demonstrate lessons tailored to meet both Maryland Social Studies and Common Core Standards.  Additionally, we offer both content and strategies to help teachers hone students’ skills in math and reading. Teaching across the curriculum and infusing real life applications through programs like the Stock Market Game TM allow teachers the flexibility to meet multiple content standards at one time.

Given the demands on teacher time and the limited number of instruction days, are financial literacy standards important to emphasize? The Federal Reserve Board of Governors recently released a working paper titled State Mandated Financial Education and the Credit Behavior of Young Adults (2014).  This paper examines the financial education mandates in three states and its impact on the “credit behavior of young adults” (Brown et al., 2014). What the study found is that in Georgia, Idaho, and Texas (states that mandate both economics and personal finance education and assesses its outcomes) that as young adults, these students tended to have “higher credit scores and lower delinquency rates by age 22” (Brown et al., 2014). Although Maryland’s curricula and financial education approach does not specifically mirror these states, study findings may offer Maryland educators information on the potential outcomes of financial education and its significance.

In addition, personal financial literacy may prove extremely useful to students, particularly in their early adult years, given the budget constraints of young adults just beginning a new career and or for those young people experiencing difficulty in transitioning to the workforce. For as of November 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for young adults was 10.9%, a rate significantly higher than the overall rate of 5.8% — certainly, an important reason to help students build the skills necessary to make informed financial decisions.

Teachers, we hope you will consider attending one of our upcoming workshops or institutes, and/or enroll your students today in the Stock Market Game TM, the Poster Contest, Economic or Personal Finance Challenge.  Be sure to check out the MCEE website (www.econed.org ) for more information.

On behalf of the Maryland Council on Economic Education, we wish you a wonderful and joyous holiday season!

 

Works Cited:

Brown, A., Collins, J.M., Schmeiser, M. & Urban, C. (2014). www.federalreserve.gov. State Mandated Financial Education and the Credit Behavior of Young Adults. Retrieved on September 30, 2014, from http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2014/201468/201468abs.html

Unemployment Rate for Young Adults, (November 2014). www.bls.gov. Retrieved on December 8th, 2014 from http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea10.htm