Note: Be sure to check out our overview of the national financial literacy and education standards, too!
You may have a steady paycheck, but failure to manage your money can cause debt and financial stress. The government is also realizing the need for financial literacy with countless American households in a money crisis. Authorities might offer financial assistance, but such measures are temporary. This could explain why states are incorporating personal finance education into their school curriculums.
One of the jurisdictions championing financial literacy is Georgia, with the recent signing of Senate Bill 220, enacting financial literacy standards for Georgia students.
Understanding Georgia’s Personal Finance Bill (SB 220)
The law signed by Governor Brian Kemp in April 2022 mandates personal finance lessons for high schoolers from the 2024-2025 school year. This means all grade 11 and grade 12 students must pass a half-credit program to graduate. According to the Governor, the law will enhance civic education to uphold American freedoms. Kemp adds that this legislation prepares students for life beyond the classroom by instilling the importance of budgeting and good credit.
Kemp also signed other laws to empower students, teachers, and parents. For instance, HB 385 welcomes retired teachers to work full-time to support high-need areas. Additionally, SB 226 bans obscene books from school libraries while HB 1178 protects parents’ rights to direct their children’s upbringing.
Georgia’s Personal Finance Standards
Students cover the following topics in their personal finance course.
The curriculum introduces post-high school choices such as joining college, military enlistment, or seeking employment. Students also learn how to finance their pursuits after high school through scholarships, work-study programs, employment, grants, loans, and savings.
Income as a Limited Resource
This topic compares various income types, for instance, salaries, hourly wages, capital gains, and dividends. Students also analyze paystub components, including deductions and net and gross pay. Furthermore, budgeting comes up as a way to allocate income.
The Connection Between Saving and Investing
Learners view various aspects of money, including a store of value, unit of account, and form of exchange. Likewise, students classify financial institutions, saving, and investment options according to their risk and return. The concept of speculative investments such as cryptocurrency also emerges.
Teachers compare interest rates from various institutions, for example, banks, payday lenders, and credit unions. They also differentiate simple from compound interest, explaining how variable and fixed interest works.
Students familiarize themselves with various forms of taxation in America, including sales, capital gains, estate, and property taxes. Progressive, proportional, and regressive taxes also come up.
Credit Costs and Benefits
This topic includes the following lessons:
- How to view your credit score and report
- Revolving vs. installment credit
- Loan applications
- Causes and effects of personal bankruptcy
- Credit score components, for example, available credit, payment history, past credit applications, and amount owed
Insurance and Risk Management
Besides explaining the reasons for buying insurance, this topic describes various insurance covers and their costs and benefits. Students also learn about insurability and why premiums vary.
Determining Worker Earnings in a Marketplace
This topic identifies qualities that give you an upper hand in the workplace, for example, time management, effective communication, and teamwork. Students also explore career options and the value of investing in skill development.
This topic discusses the role of government agencies in regulating investments, banking, and borrowing. You also learn about consumer legislation and how to lodge customer complaints through the Better Business Bureau and direct communication with businesses.
The topic explains various forms of identity theft, from skimming and data breaches to dumpster diving and phishing. Additionally, you learn how to identify scams and avoid identity theft. You also know the steps to take in the event you fall prey to identity theft. For example, you can change passwords, report to relevant authorities, or freeze your credit cards and credit histories.
Georgia’s passing of Senate Bill 220 goes a long way in increasing financial literacy rates across the country. Although some states are yet to mandate financial literacy in high schools, they might follow suit in the coming months or years.
Why Financial Literacy?
The following statistics explain the need for financial literacy.
- Financial illiteracy cost Americans over $436 billion in 2022 (National Financial Educators Council)
- 59% of Americans need financial advice but don’t know where to find it (PR Newswire)
- There were 2.8 million consumer fraud reports in 2021 (Federal Trade Commission)
- 73% of American teens wish for more financial education (Greenlight)
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And check out our white paper: “Strategies for Increasing Financial Literacy Rates Among High School and College Students”
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