Local schools out ahead of financial literacy push


Though the state wants to encourage more financial literacy education, local schools have already been doing that.
House Bill 58 was recently signed by Governor John Kasich. It states the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will create and distribute supplemental materials to schools to teach about financial advisory and credit card abuse.
However, local schools have already been having that conversation with their students.
“We have been following, for years, the financial literacy component that is mandated by the State of Ohio,” Marysville High School Principal Tom Cochran said.
Cochran said financial literacy is weaved into many classes, including personal finance, ag business management, accounting and finance, government and economics. He said students are “exposed to at least one of those classes” because the financial literacy component is “embedded” in required and elective classes.
Cochran said there is an immediate need to have financial literacy in classrooms after ODE standardized those lessons in 2012.
“Hopefully, we attempt to go above and beyond that, as it’s in multiple classes,” Cochran said.
In these lessons, Cochran said students learn about saving their money, credit cards and how to not overspend. He said students learn how to manage their first paycheck, as teachers often see students holding their first job.
“We’re trying to teach our students to be successful citizens in the real world,” he said. “A lot of that goes in being able to navigate and understand what it’s going to do, and making sure you’re making wise decisions and not putting yourself into negative credit situations before you get into that full-time, career-paying job.”
At Fairbanks High School, Principal Tom Montgomery said financial literacy has been a requirement from ODE for years, and isn’t anything new coming to the curriculum.
He said the school offers financial literacy classes that “meet the needs for graduation.”
“That meets the needs of House Bill 58, and (the classes) cover all of those aspects,” Montgomery said. “As far as them sending materials, I haven’t seen them yet. I’m sure they could be resources we could use, but we have in place something that already covers HB58.”
He said HB58 “won’t affect our classes at all,” and “we’re doing everything House Bill 58 requires to be done.”
“I don’t know what brought about this new implementation,” Montgomery said.
The Fairbanks principal said the school’s classes cover topics such as life skills, taxes, savings, credit cards, loans, buying homes, renting apartments and setting up
a financial plan.
He said in the school’s financial literacy classes, teachers will have business owners and bankers come to class to teach students about the negative impact of credit and how to use a checkbook.
“I think our personal financial management class covers all aspects of House Bill 58’s requirements for financial literacy,” “I think it will provide some resources as the state puts it out, and I don’t think that hurts anything if we have more resources.”
The bill will be made effective March 20.

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