By James H. DeGraffenreidt Jr., Charlene M. Dukes and Bernard J. Sadusky, Published: February 3, 2012 in The Washington Post
In recent months, financial literacy education has caught the attention of an increasing number of politicians and opinion leaders, who have suggested that such education become a requirement in our public schools. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has been among those leading the charge, noting the importance of understanding money, debt and budgeting.
We appreciate the spotlight that the comptroller is shining on this issue. The collapse of major banking institutions, the mortgage crisis and the many problems associated with mounting consumer debt have told us that personal finance education must be a part of our curriculum. Our schools need to place bedrock instruction in finance alongside reading, mathematics, social studies and science.
Here’s the good news, however: It is already taking place. Since the beginning of this academic year, Maryland’s school systems have been required to provide instruction in financial literacy for students in grades 3 through 12. This requirement offers a wonderful opportunity to teach children the importance of sound financial planning long before they are out on their own. The earlier children begin learning about how to manage money, the better off they will be as adults. The Maryland State Board of Education put this new requirement in place because children are in control of more money today than ever before, and they need to learn how to manage it wisely.