As personal financial literacy education grows nationwide, Maryland lags behind – Conduit Street

Nationally, data indicates that financial literacy is increasing and states are increasingly prioritizing the issue in public education. During the 2022 session of the Maryland General Assembly, lawmakers tackled the issue and passed a bill requiring public K-12 programs to incorporate financial literacy.

K-12 dive, one website which provides “journalism and insight into the most impactful news and trends shaping K-12 education,” recently published a deep dive on financial literacy education in the United States. This analysis revealed that:

  • National access to financial education has increased slightly since 2018, when only five states required personal finance courses for all high school students and 16.4% of high school graduates took such a course, according to a new report released by the nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance.
  • By 2022, eight states had implemented stand-alone personal finance courses, and 22.7% of high school graduates had taken one. Four additional states — Florida, Ohio, Rhode Island and Nebraska — are currently implementing statewide finance course requirements, which will increase the number of states requiring finance materials to 12 and the percentage of students taking these courses at 32.5%.
  • At 48.2%, more students in 2022 had access to personal finance electives than required courses. On the other hand, 4.8% of secondary school students did not have access to financial education in 2022, according to the report.

However, from K-12, despite the increased prioritization of financial literacy, deep inequalities continue to exist in access to this education for students of color and low-income students:

The study of nearly 12,000 public high schools serving 12,135,504 high school students shows that access is inequitable, especially for black, Hispanic, and low-income students.

In schools with more than 75% of students eligible for free or reduced lunch or more than three-quarters of black and brown student populations, only 1 in 20 students ensured access to education classes financial, according to a review of course catalogs.

Where is Maryland?

During the 2022 legislative session, Maryland lawmakers failed to pass the bill (HB 200) to require financial literacy training in public schools across the state. In fact, this bill has been introduced for several years now, consistently failing to receive a vote in committee.

Currently, Maryland has a patchwork of requirements, with only Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, and Prince George counties. include financial literacy among their graduation requirements. To that effect, the American Public Education Foundation’s National Report on Financial Literacy notes Maryland’s Overall Financial Literacy only a C, having developed an educational program on the subject, but not mandating its teaching for all students in Maryland, despite the fact that policy makers have considered the subject for years.

In 2008, lawmakers passed a bill create a task force to study how to improve financial literacy in the state to “study the current ability of high school students to understand basic financial concepts, assess the current financial literacy education offering in Maryland public schools and to assess the value of funding literacy in elementary and secondary education.

Based on the recommendations of this task force, the (then) state Superintendent of Schools established “a financial literacy education design team to develop educational content standards for financial literacy – statements about what students should know and be able to do” and a “Financial Literacy Advisory Council”. to oversee the work of the design team and help leverage resources. The design team then created content standards to serve as a framework for Maryland’s State Personal Financial Literacy Program.

In particular, the Maryland State Curriculum for Personal Financial Literacy Education is based on the JumpStart National Standards for K-12 Personal Finance Education and the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Personal Financial Literacy.

However, with only a handful of local jurisdictions adopting the standards, it is Marylanders who stand to lose. In a recent Baltimore Sun editorial on the subject, Ray Martinez (president and co-founder of EVERFI Inc., a social impact education technology company) pointed out that “this lack of effective financial education perpetuates the cycles of debt and poverty and reduces opportunities for socio-economic advancement”. mobility and a secure future, especially for those living in disadvantaged communities.

If policymakers are to follow K-12 Drive’s analysis, prioritizing financial literacy in education is not only timely, but necessary: ​​”in the 42 states that don’t require it not currently, fewer than one in 10 students are guaranteed a finance course.

That Maryland lawmakers revisit the issue in the 2023 legislative session must be a scene.

Stay tuned Duct Street to learn more about financial literacy and education.

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Sarah J. Greer