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Teaching financial literacy in Kentucky high schools — aimed at helping kids manage their money

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Teaching Kentucky high school students about financial literacy was the topic of a press conference in Frankfort recently.

Legislation was passed by the General Assembly last year that mandates a class on the issue, and Ball announced that Kentucky’s credit unions will be supplying tools to aid teachers and students in reaching that goal.

“The tools are actually materials, such as books, software and online programs, as well as training for teachers to use them,” Ball said. “I think this will be everything they need to make sure people are taught the things they need to know before they graduate from high school.”

Ball says while the curriculum is still under development, there are some aspects she knows will be in the course.  

Allison Ball

“Balancing your checkbook, how to handle interest on your credit card, how to make good decisions when you’re buying a house, making sure you’re spending less than you’re making. Real nuts-and-bolts things that people need to know to be good financial managers of their money when they become adults.”

Rep. Jim DuPlessis, R-Elizabethtown, who was the main sponsor of the bill that passed last year, says he is sponsoring legislation this year, that would create a Kentucky Financial Empowerment Commission, which would implement a financial literacy plan covering not only students but state employees, the poor, Kentuckians with disabilities, veterans and retired people, as well as those of retirement age.

DuPlessis said while lawmakers have mandated teachers to teach math, science, and other subjects, but not the application of those skills.  

“So, kids are coming out of school knowing how to do arithmetic, but they don’t know how arithmetic is used against them such as predatory lending, or where they can use their skills for compounding interest.

“I’m passionate about this because we can help our kids finally manage their money, rather than like so many Kentuckians, having their money manage them.”

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis says it’s important that financial literacy is taught before students become adults.

“They’re going to be faced with having to make incredibly important financial decisions that may have significant impact on the rest of their lives, between the ages of 18 and 20.”

The legislation that passed last year requiring financial literacy will take effect with the class of students who will be entering high school in 2020, but Ball says they hope to have the curriculum set before then.

The Department of Education’s Literacy Revision and Writing Committee, tasked to develop standards for teaching the course, will meet on Friday.

Ball says the length of the class and which year of high school it will be taken has not yet been determined.  

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One Comment

  1. dave says:

    Is he that smirking little brown shirt that was taunting real Americans in Washington?

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