Financial education: Does your state make the grade? (pg. 5)

  @Money July 11, 2013: 4:34 PM ET

State Ranking: Pennsylvania - Wyoming

Pennsylvania: D

  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines and requires local school districts to implement these standards.
  • No personal-finance requirement, although personal finance may be taught at certain schools as an elective.
  • Pennsylvania passed a law in 2010 requiring the Department of Education (DOE) to disseminate economic education and personal-financial literacy curriculum materials to public and private schools and to develop a clearinghouse of these resources on its web site. A separate fund was created to support the implementation of this program. The legislation required the DOE to recognize schools that implement exemplary economic and personal financial literacy programs. The law also created a task force on economic education and personal financial literacy education to make recommendations on how to enhance personal-finance education in the state.

Rhode Island: F

  • Does not include personal-finance topics in the state's educational standards.
  • No personal-finance requirement, although personal finance may be taught at certain schools as an elective.
  • Rhode Island's legislature created a special legislative commission on personal finance and requested the department of education to create a task force on youth financial literacy.

South Carolina: B

  • Requires personal-finance instruction to be incorporated into other subject matter.
  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines and requires local school districts to implement these standards.
  • South Carolina provides personal-finance education to be provided within a social studies/economics class that is required for high school graduation.
  • The state created a fund that could receive public and private contributions for financial literacy instruction.

South Dakota: B

  • Requires personal-finance instruction to be incorporated into other subject matter.
  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K--12 instructional guidelines, requires local school districts to implement these standards, and requires financial literacy instruction as a high school graduation requirement.
  • South Dakota requires an economics or personal-finance course as a high school graduation requirement.

Tennessee: A

  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines, requires local school districts to implement these standards, requires financial literacy instruction as a high school graduation requirement, and requires students be given assessment tests on financial literacy topics.
  • Requires high school students take at least a one-semester course devoted to personal finance.
  • Tennessee created a Financial Literacy Commission to promote personal-finance education in the state and make recommendations.

Texas: B

  • Requires personal-finance instruction to be incorporated into other subject matter.
  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines and requires local school districts to implement these standards.
  • Texas requires personal-finance topics be covered within its high school graduation economics requirement.
  • Texas has passed laws (1) creating a financial literacy pilot program for up to 100 school districts and requiring a report be given to the legislature on the efficacy of this program; (2) requiring that mathematics courses include personal-finance topics in grades K-8; (3) requiring that high school students be trained on how they can pay for college; and (4) requiring that the states' collegiate institutions that graduate K-12 educators be required to offer a personal-finance course.
  • Texas has assessed an annual fee on certain individuals and companies licensed by the state that participate in the financial services industry. Such fees are used to help finance certain financial literacy education initiatives.

Utah: A

  • Requires high school students take at least a one-semester course devoted to personal finance.
  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines, requires local school districts to implement these standards, and requires financial literacy instruction as a high school graduation requirement.
  • Utah requires public schools to give information to kindergarten students about the state's financial literacy education requirements and information on how to open a Utah Educational Savings Plan account. Utah also allows students to test out of the high school financial literacy course requirement.

Vermont: D

  • Includes personal finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines and requires local school districts to implement these standards.
  • No personal finance requirement, although personal finance may be taught at certain schools as an elective.
  • Vermont in 2008 created the Financial Literacy Trust Fund. The Treasurer's office is authorized to accept funding from a variety of sources to support financial literacy activities. Vermont also has a fund maintained by the state's Department of Financial Regulation (DFR), that is funded by certain DFR operations. In 2010 the legislature changed how this fund is administered by the DFR. The funds used to be exclusively for investment education but under the new law may be used to support the broader category of financial services education.

Virginia: A

  • Requires high school students take at least a one-semester course devoted to personal finance.
  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines, requires local school districts to implement these standards, and requires financial literacy instruction as a high school graduation requirement.
  • Virginia requires all public colleges and universities in the state to make available financial literacy training for undergraduate students.

Washington: F

  • Personal-finance topics are included in the state's educational guidelines, but the state does not require that local school districts teach these topics.
  • No personal-finance requirement, although personal finance may be taught at certain schools as an elective.
  • Washington's legislature created a Financial Literacy Public-Private Partnership in 2004 with the goal of promoting personal-finance education in the state's schools. Later, the legislature changed the name of the group and put term limits on the partnership's membership. In 2007 a law was passed expanding the duties of the state's director of financial regulation to include bringing personal-finance education to all of the citizens in the state.

West Virginia: B

  • Requires personal-finance instruction to be incorporated into other subject matter.
  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines, requires local school districts to implement these standards, and requires financial literacy instruction as a high school graduation requirement.
  • In West Virginia, personal-finance education is provided within a required social studies and economics high school course called Civics for the 21st Century.
  • West Virginia created a Consumer Education Fund to promote financial literacy in the state. Ten percent of all civil penalties collected by the state's Division of Banking go into that fund.

Wisconsin: C

  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines and requires local school districts to implement these standards.
  • No personal-finance requirement, although personal finance may be taught at certain schools as an elective.
  • Wisconsin created an Office of Financial Literacy in 2000. In 2010 the Governor's Council on Financial Literacy was created by executive order. This group has given individuals and corporations awards for their financial literacy education activities and the Council also awards grant dollars. The Council notes that 75% of Wisconsin school districts do not have a one-semester financial literacy requirement. For 10 years the National Institute on Financial & Economic Literacy has provided teacher training to more than 700 teachers and has an online teacher training program. Wisconsin also created its nationally recognized Model Academic Standards for Personal Financial Literacy. These standards were created for local school districts to use when implementing financial literacy curriculum into their classrooms.

Wyoming: D

  • Includes personal-finance topics in the state's K-12 instructional guidelines and requires local school districts to implement these standards.
  • No personal-finance requirement, although personal finance may be taught at certain schools as an elective.
  • Wyoming's legislature passed a resolution in 2005 recognizing the value of personal-finance education to the citizens of its state.
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Sources for grading:
2011 Survey of the States released by The Council for Economic Education, councilforeconed.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2011-Survey-of-the-States.pdf
The JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy's State Financial Education Requirements, jumpstart.org/state-financial-education-requirements.html and jumpstart.org/state-financial-education-requirements-listing.html
National Conference of State Legislatures; for 2004--12 legislative summaries see: ncsl.org/issues-research/banking/financial-literacy-2012-legislation.aspx; for 2003: ncsl.org/issues-research/banking/financial-literacy-2003-legislation.aspx; for 2002: ncsl.org/issues-research/banking/financial-literacy-2002-legislation.aspx; for 2001: ncsl.org/issues-research/banking/financial-literacy-2001-legislation.aspx; for 2000: ncsl.org/issues-research/banking/financial-literacy-2000-legislation.aspx; and for 1999: ncsl.org/issues-research/banking/financial-literacy-1999-legislation.aspx
State sources:
education.ky.gov/curriculum/ss/pages/financial-literacy-and-personal-finance.aspx and ped.state.nm.us/ped/PEDDocs/GraduationFAQ2011.pdf and Oregon Task Force Report on Civics and Financial Education
Independent research

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