Beginning in September, Virginia schools will be required to teach a standalone financial education course to its high school students, and as can be expected the state mandate has touched off a vigorous debate among various special interest and education groups about the wisdom of a such a move.
Having just written a piece on financial literacy for the May edition of ASBJ, which is online and available for free viewing for a limited time, it was familiar territory to me and the arguments for each side are compelling.
On the one hand, there are school districts, which are already under serious financial strain with little to suggest that the pull between what they are able to do and what they are required to do will ease up anytime soon. Adding one more requirement, particularly one that is unfunded and some say is satisfied through other courses like math and social studies, is just plain impractible, as well as an infringement on local control.
On the other hand, we have a clear example right in front of us, of what can happen when ordinary citizens are not equipped with sound financial knowledge. Sure, these are skills that should be taught at home but the reality is they’re not.