Bill mandating financial-literacy class for students advances - Florida Politics

Bill mandating financial-literacy class for students advances

A years-long battle in the Legislature to pass a bill requiring high school students take a course teaching them how to manage money is back again.

Sen. Dorothy Hukill‘s bill, though, had a small victory on Wednesday. SB 88 advanced the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on pre-K-12 Education, leaving one more committee stop before it can head to the Senate floor for consideration.

Hukill, a Port Orange Republican, has introduced the proposal since 2013, but it keeps dying.

“This is the most popular bill — I get stopped in the supermarket for this bill, and I don’t get stopped for many bills,” Hukill said. “So why doesn’t it pass? People think it is going to take away their musical, or take away their art (electives).”

Under the bill, the class would teach students how to manage debt, understand credit scores, apply for loans, compute interest rates and analyze simple contracts. They would need to take the course before they can graduate high school.

Although the bill would reduce the number of elective credits from eight to seven and a half, Hukill said that still leaves students enough time to take elective courses. The one-half credit would be set aside for the financial literacy course.

If the bill becomes law, the state would become the sixth in the nation to require the stand-alone course in personal finance literacy.

According to staff analysis, school districts may incur costs ranging from $131,000 to $8.8 million in the first year of implementing the requirements. Those costs calculates teacher training and new textbook requirements.

Ana covers politics and policy for Florida Politics. Before joining Florida Politics, she was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. She holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.

3 Comments

  1. Senator Hukill is to be commended for her thoughtful consideration of the skills necessary for productive citizens. If she should not be successful this year in getting her bill passed, is there a way to mandate these topics to be included in math curriculum for high school students?

  2. A good financial education program communicates to students the deeper value and meaning of wealth and that that

    — Leonardo Boff, Brazilian theologian and writer

    I teach financial literacy (financialliteracylesssons(dot) com) and whenever I hear anyone object to this subject being formally taught as a stand alone course in our schools, here is my answer:

    Everyone, from every walk of life, needs and deserves to be financially literate. Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn about the importance of building personal wealth. Wealth is more than the ownership of assets. As we all know, wealth is power. It is the ability to be heard and to influence. No one knows this better than someone living an isolating and powerless life of poverty. Wealth is access. We’re not talking access to private jets or exclusive clubs. We’re talking social mobility. Wealth is the ticket to living in a better, safer neighborhood, a good education, better health care, and other quality of life items. Wealth means the ability to sleep at night not worried that an even minor financial crisis could spell disaster for you and your family. Sadly, in the last few years we’ve also come to see that, in the U.S., disparities in wealth can lead to vastly different outcomes in the justice system. So yes, wealth is justice. A good financial literacy program changes students’ relationships with money and their perceptions of wealth.

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