If you’ve seen the topic of financial literacy curriculums in high schools, or even personal finance courses being taught in public schools bubble up in the news lately, it likely concerns some level of controversy. While states and individual school districts around the country are implementing financial literacy courses aimed at teaching kids finance, there are some genuine parental worries and parent concerns that are arising.
We won’t name names, but if you do a quick Google search, you’re likely to find news stories concerning specific financial literacy courses — even some of the top FinLit programs on the market — being put into schools. If you read further, you’ll find that many people are objecting to some of those courses, and often for well-founded reasons.
That’s because many financial literacy courses incorporate a certain ideology in their courses, sparking parental worries. This is, in some ways, part of the ongoing “culture war” surrounding all things related to education in the United States. We’ll let you do some looking and searching on your own. But if you want to cut to the chase, we’ve outlined some of the chief parental worries around family finance education and teaching financial literacy for children — and how Money Vehicle is different.
Ideology in Financial Literacy Courses
As noted, some financial literacy courses marketed toward public schools, and utilized in public school classrooms, are overtly ideological. That can mean a number of different things, of course, but the courses in question that are raising parental worries mostly concern what would likely be described as right-wing or conservative viewpoints.
While those viewpoints may have value and be useful in an overall discussion about financial literacy and financial topics, they may rub a lot of parents, teachers, and students the wrong way. Again, this isn’t to say that the content is incorrect, but when presented through a specific framing — be it overtly conservative or liberal, or something else — it may warp the content, and in turn, change how students consume it.
There are also courses on the market that contain blatant religious influences or overtones. While Money Vehicle is supportive of any and all belief systems, we do question whether those systems have a place in a financial literacy course or class. Many parents do too, evidently, as this is becoming another hot topic when discussing kids and money.
Some of the topics that are bubbling up in relation to religion and money in these courses concern shared expenses among cohabitating adults (something that some belief systems look down on), the use of interest (something some belief systems eschew), and more.
You’re likely to find that there can be some corporate influence present in many financial literacy courses as well. Again, this may not be a bad thing necessarily, but something to be aware of. As Money Vehicle has touched on before, even “free” courses aren’t necessarily “free.” There may be advertising or marketing efforts at play, which, again, parents should keep in mind.
How is Money Vehicle Different?
At Money Vehicle, we don’t think that we’re perfect, but we do make an effort to ensure that our financial literacy course for high schools is ideology-free, steers clear of religious influences, and is independent of corporate influence as well. We’re an independent company, and the content contained in our course has been developed with the work of financial professionals and teachers — not marketing teams, political think tanks, or religious figures.
As discussed, the above concerns are something parents should be aware of. It doesn’t necessarily negate the value of a course or content. But the more parents know about what their kids are learning, the better.
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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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