August 1, 2016

Financial Literacy: Results and Advice from Real Teachers Who’ve Taught it

By now we are all well aware that financial literacy has endless benefits for students. According to data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation, high school students who are required to take personal finance courses have better average credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates as young adults.

However, despite ongoing improvements, the United States is still lagging behind other nations, with our students performing at an average level in financial literacy. The task of implementing the basics of personal finance into curriculums across the nation does not have to be as daunting a task as it may seem. As Nan Morrison, president and CEO, Council for Economic Education said in a CNBC interview, “To be successful, most kids don’t need to learn about collateralized debt instruments, but they do need to know how to open a bank account, how much they need to save each month to reach their goals and, if they borrow this amount of money, how much money they will need to earn to pay it back.”

What we don’t often hear about is how students feel about this type of education, or lack thereof. And what about the teachers who work tirelessly to incorporate financial literacy into their lesson plans? Below is feedback and advice from real teachers whose students were able to benefit from financial literacy education as a result of a grant from our Pathway to Financial Success program.

“While [scores were] not as high as we would have liked, we are teaching this class to a population of students who struggle in math and will not be going on to college next year.  Most will be entering the work force or trade school and the majority of them are students who have recently exited from our ESL program.”

  • Kennett High School, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

“This is the second year that I have taught the curriculum, and both years, either the Valedictorian or Salutatorian has referenced financial education curriculum as one of the most relevant or beneficial classes they had taken. Now THAT’S rewarding! Last week, I drove through our local Sonic and ordered a drink. When the carhop (a former student) handed me the drink, he said, “I’ve gotten my credit score up to 650! I’m trying to buy a car.’ How cool is that?!”

  • Quitman High School, Quitman, Texas         


“First, allow collaborative, hands-on learning for students to engage (with technology, if possible) various financial websites, calculators and resources. Second, make time for personal finance lessons – they need a positive role model walking them through budgeting, scholarships and general personal finance topics.”

  • Hedgesville High School, Hedgesville, West Virginia

“Overall, the students displayed improvement in their understanding of money management practices. The new technology provided by the grant will allow for our Economic and Public Issues classes to have closer access to the required coursework on personal finance. As a result, we anticipate a more successful response from our students in the future. Having adequate resources will enable our students to succeed in and make contributions to a globally competitive society.”

  • Overlea High School, Baltimore, Maryland


Is this feedback and advice helpful to you as you think about incorporating financial literacy into your curriculum? If so, you’ll also enjoy reading a contributed piece from one of our Pathway teachers, Hilary Ruttenberg, on her experiences with teaching financial literacy.

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