Pennsylvania Task Force on Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Education

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Education, established by Act 104 of 2010, spent fourteen months studying research, best practices and trends in financial education in order to formulate recommendations on how to improve financial education in Pennsylvania’s schools. The entire report can be downloaded here.  Below are the key findings and recommendations.

Key Findings

In researching the trends and needs in financial education, the Task Force found:

  • Studies document there is growing support for teaching financial education in schools.
  • Since the financial crisis of 2008, more states are adopting legislation that varies in the degree to which personal finance is taught and required for graduation.
  • While many Pennsylvania high schools offer financial education, it is typically part of an elective course, and the personal finance content is often limited.
  • Many states have developed their own K-12 academic standards for personal finance to provide a multi-grade approach to learning culminating with a capstone course at the high school level.
  • There are a wide variety of free and low-cost curriculum materials from which schools can choose making the implementation of a financial education curriculum a no- to low-cost endeavor.
  • Most teachers have not been trained to teach personal finance and would like more professional development to help them better understand the subject.
  • More high school graduates entering college today are taking out student loans and acquiring substantial debt, yet most young people indicate they do not understand the student loan process or how to plan for college costs.

Recommendations

Current efforts to teach personal finance in Pennsylvania’s public schools today are fragmented and inconsistent depending on which of the 500 school districts a student attends. To ensure that every student receives the instruction they need to make informed decisions about saving, spending, investing and protecting their money, the Task Force made the following recommendations to Governor Corbett and the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

  • Recommendation 1:  Require every Pennsylvania high school student to complete a standalone capstone course on personal finance in order to graduate.
  • Recommendation 2:  Adopt comprehensive, standalone Pennsylvania K-12 academic standards devoted to personal finance.
  • Recommendation 3:  Provide dedicated funding to support high quality K-12 personal finance instruction and teacher training.
  • Recommendation 4:  Develop a financial education instructional endorsement for secondary teachers in Pennsylvania and corresponding program guidelines for professional educator programs.

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