The case for bolstering financial literacy efforts in the U.S. may now gain more traction thanks to an inaugural Program of International Student Assessment study that measured the financial literacy levels of 15-year olds from around the world. The study found that in terms of their skills and knowledge, students in the United States ranked between 8th and 12th place among the 18 countries studied. For a nation that boasts the world’s largest economy, such a ranking is both embarrassing and cause for concern. The study also found that about 20 percent of students in the U.S. don’t maintain basic proficiency in finance—a figure 3 percent higher than the average of students who weren’t proficient in other countries.
Financial experts like Dawn J Bennett, CEO of Bennett Group Financial Services and host of the Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett show, have long argued that financial literacy is a skill imperative to America’s youth. But young adults shouldn’t have to earn a degree in economics to graduate with the type of money management skills needed for a lifetime of financial stability (and a strong economy). Unfortunately, there are currently few avenues for students to acquire these needed skills and knowledge outside of the home.
One sector that has started to make financial literacy a priority, however, has been the charter school system. In an interview with Bennett, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Nina Rees stated that she sees this subject as both essential and complementary to existing K-12 curriculums, arguing that preventing another economic crisis depends in large part upon a generation that has the financial acumen to effectively manage their money and recognize poor investments when they see them. Incorporating finance as part of a K-12 curriculum is also a way to supplement or introduce new math skills to students, which can significantly improve math scores. Rees also noted that charters schools are uniquely positioned to target the nation’s financial illiteracy because they operate outside of the bounds of state and federal mandates. Curriculum and teaching styles can therefore be more quickly altered to better meet the needs of the students.
The key to continuing these financial education opportunities lies in part with increasing funding for charter schools. While President Obama has been a champion of charter schools throughout his administration, Rees argues that more federal funding is paramount to reaching a larger number of students; given that there are currently 1 million students awaiting acceptance into charter schools in the U.S., there’s no denying that this alternative to traditional public education is valued by a growing number of parents and students.
The Common Core curriculum presents further challenges to charter schools and their ability to address financial literacy. While publically-funded schools are not required to adopt the Common Core, the Obama Administration has made it difficult to defer, as acceptance of this curriculum is accompanied by significant federal dollars. The Common Core curriculum is therefore becoming a part of many charter schools, and its new benchmarks are influencing the things that previously set charter schools apart from their traditional public counterparts, like their ability to cover a wide range of important, yet sometimes overlooked, subject matter.
Bennett Group Financial Services LLC, based in Washington, D.C., is a comprehensive financial services firm committed to providing opportunities to clients’ as they seek long-term financial success. Its customized programs are designed with the potential to help grow, lower overall risk and conserve client assets by delivering a high level of personalized service and skill.
For more information, call 866-286-2268 or visit http://www.bennettgroupfinancial.com
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About Dawn Bennett
Dawn Bennett is CEO and Founder of Bennett Group Financial Services. She hosts a national radio program called Financial Myth Busting http://www.financialmythbusting.com
She discusses educational topics and events in the financial news, along with her thoughts on the economy, financial markets, investments, and more with her live guests, who have included rock legend Ted Nugent, as well as Steve Forbes and Grover Norquist. Listeners can call 855-884-DAWN a as well as take podcasts on the road and forums for interaction.
She can be reached on Twitter @DawnBennettFMB or on Facebook Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org