Today, the Center for Financial Literacy of Champlain College, released a link to their website, in which they show a map of the United States with each state given a report card grade from A-F, in accordance with their approach to financial literacy education in the state’s high schools.
Along with the map, they have also released a more detailed report on how these states can address the issue.
It doesn’t mean that these states will, but the importance is that the awareness has been provided.
What does seem to be missing from a report like this one is the particular financial literacy of high schools in the major cities of these states.
Why is this important? Because, as an example, a state like Florida has earned a “D” for a grade. This, according to Champlain, means that “the states allow schools to teach finance classes but they are not required for graduation.” The key point here is that “the state allows,” but this does not mean that the particular public school departments of a given city have made it a priority to teach these courses. Take Miami, for example, given the size of its student population in comparison to other cities in Florida, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system would create a tremendous impact on the financial literacy of the state by adopting the “Grade A” attitude other states, such as Georgia, have. The “A” grade signifies that the state requires not only finance to be taught, but a standalone finance course to be taught, and for students to be assessed on their financial literacy.
The same thing would most likely greatly change the overall literacy of other states by focusing first on their most populous cities, such as Los Angeles in California; Seattle-Tacoma in Washington; or the Greater Boston area in Massachusetts.
The intention here isn’t to leave smaller cities behind, but to think of financial illiteracy as a mental epidemic. If we had only a limited number of vaccines, where should we send them first? To the small towns where people are fewer and hardly travel outside or ever move outside their own city, or the largest metropolitan areas, from which most of the future men and women of this nation will come?
(As always, a related article: Financial education: does your state make the grade?)