Financial Literacy Matchmaking

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We are about a week away from kicking off the 16/17 school year for our three children. We typically start after Labor Day. This will also mark my third year as a committee member with my local school district, with the goal of championing financial literacy.

It has been an interesting two years. I have learned a lot about the inner working of a large school district. As you can imagine with any public institution there is a lot of red tape or events that can occur that can throw you off course to reaching your goals.

A great reminder of this was during the final months of the 15/16 school year I had pitched the idea of a screening of the documentary of Broke, Busted, and Disgusted, followed by a presentation on financial education. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling crunch it could not be accommodated and was postponed.

Luckily my voice has been heard over the last two years and it seems as if this will be the year multiple initiatives will be put in place to help increase the level of financial literacy within our district, and directly help students.  An incredible reward for volunteering a few hours of my time.

financial literacy

Be Patient, Be Persistent

The committee’s focused on a wide variety of topics over the last two years. My main goal was to promote financial literacy, but knew I needed to bring more to the table. I offered valuable input where I could on other items being discussed, and picked my spots to insert my own personal agenda.

Feedback from a post-graduate survey supported the need for financial education among other things. That data was a great point of validation for all of the things I had previously talked about.  Now as we approach the new school year the documentary screening and presentation are back on the table. In addition, as looking to insert the EverFi financial literacy curriculum into a few appropriate classes.

EverFi was a program I found via my local credit union and brokered a meeting between them and our school district. I share this not as a way to pay myself on my back, but to highlight that it never hurts to ask. The worst I could receive is a ‘no.’

What I found by asking is that my credit union sponsors school district and covers the cost of the curriculum and training for high schools. I also found our EverFi offers a middle school program that is covered by a national grant.

What do school districts need most? Good free or low-cost curriculum and training for their staff. Financial literacy match made.

One Trick Pony

Now some may accuse me of being a one trick pony when it comes to financial literacy, and that’s okay. However, I have done my research and have come up with a number of other options to provide our school district with financial resources. They are in no particular order:

National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) – Offers a full suite of free personal finance education programs specifically focused on basic personal finance skills that are relevant to the lives of teens in Grades 8-12. (HSFPP)

Working in Support of Education (W!SE) – Offers a financial literacy certification program for high school students.

National Financial Education Council (NFEC) – Offers low-cost instructor-led programs that delivers fundamental financial knowledge for grades K-2.

I’m hopeful that the 16/17 school year will be a successful one, bringing financial literacy to classroom and presentations opportunities to parents.

What resources would you suggest to a high school audience? What other organization might I benefit from contacting?

27 thoughts on “Financial Literacy Matchmaking”

  1. That’s terrific, Brian! How terrific is it that your drive and commitment is getting financial literacy resources into the schools. Gives me something to think about here! (and I appreciate the resources, since we’re still in elementary. No reason to wait to start the good fight!)

  2. I love teaching financial education to my fifth graders!

    My favorite resource is the book, “The Index Card.”

    They created their own index card of money-saving tips and mantras!

  3. I think the biggest challenge is making the topic seem important to the kids. For so many kids, money is just off their radar right now from a big-picture standpoint. They’re thinking about wanting money for going to the movies with their friends, or they just ask the bank of mom and dad and make a withdrawal. I don’t have any suggestions for curriculum, but I know you’ll find the perfect one, Brian. You have a gift for this!

  4. It’s great to hear that you are making progress in bringing a financial literacy program to your school district, Brian!

    I’m going to look into one of the resources you provided for my daughter’s school (she’s in 8th grade). They currently have a month-long “Game of Life”, where they’re each given jobs with varying degrees of income, loans, etc. and they have to figure out how to make ends meet each month (with many unexpected expenses), plus shop around for apartments, cars, etc. I love this as it really engages the kids!

  5. Dave Ramsey actually has great high school literacy courses. Junior achievement is a great resource supported by banks and credit unions across the country. It teaches entrepreneurship and some financial skills to elementary aged kids (usually 4th-5th grade).

  6. Congratulations on a successful pitch that was accepted! And not just one initiative, but multiple initiatives.

    Good to know about all these options. As Hannah mentioned, Dave Ramsey has educational curriculum too — I just don’t know the costs involved.

  7. That’s awesome Brian! As a school administrator it is great to have folks who are passionate about topics but who also understand the bigger picture. Your willingness to be involved in other projects is so important. It shows you are committed to learning and students – and not just to your own topic of interest. You’ve done great work and congratulations on helping students with such an important topic!

  8. This is so wonderful, Brian! I’m in the school system, and there is much more I could be doing to promote financial literacy in the education system. My challenge is in trying to imagine some kind of program or curriculum that actually would have reached me when I was a teenager. I was so resistant to any kind of financial teachings. I myself might have been more reachable as an elementary student. It will be very interesting to see, as the years go by, which initiatives and strategies are most effective – and at which grade levels. You’re doing great things, Brian!

    • Thanks Ruth! Agreed, keeping this topic interesting for high school student will be the biggest challenge. Teenagers are tough, I know from the small sample of dealing with my three.

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