Across these great United States, every state has its own curriculum of what is important to teach kids. While the vast majority of courses like biology, US History, and English are cornerstones across the country, and up for minimal debate (save for CRT), there is much debate about how well this has prepared students for the real world.
In Vermont, some school districts are offering a personal finance course. Of those few courses, five educators have banded together to make the course a requirement for all students across the state. Courtney Poquette of Winooski High School, Mary Brouillette of Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, Bob Fredette of Lamoille Union High School in Hyde Park, Angela Pandis of Missisquoi Valley Union High School and Middle School in Swanton, and Drew Gordon of South Burlington High School all believe that the Personal Finance courses they are offering at their schools are the cornerstone for good graduates.
These teachers have seen firsthand what research by Next Gen Personal Finance and others have strongly indicated for years; this course is truly a necessity for good students to become responsible adults, and to make smart financial decisions. This is because what most schools in Vermont and across the country are teaching kids is based on how to handle money for businesses.
If you own your home or even a vehicle, you don’t worry about it being a depreciating asset or get to write off its depreciation barring specific cases. As such, the accounting classes they are taking aren’t teaching them about the difference between that astronomical 21% APR from Visa, and the .1% APR their savings account is “making” for them.
What these teachers have learned is that many of these students are under the belief that making $40,000 a year will make them “rich.” As they explained “In our classes, we help them to realize how expensive their dream lifestyles are. Such reality checks force them to question decisions in their near futures, such as college majors, job salaries, the cost of credit, and more.”
For them, the satisfaction doesn’t just come from teaching the class, they are also learning at the same time as their students. “You would not believe how often we hear from students and their parents that our course has changed the direction of students’ lives for the better. And as teachers, we learn too. After all, we have household budgets, kids to send to college, and retirement to think about.”
With how difficult it is to be open about personal finances, many parents are looking to the schools to help get them on the way, but the schools aren’t teaching it. “Not long ago, a report showed that parents would rather talk to their kids about sex than about money. Personal finance classes make talking about money at the dinner table the new normal. Students in our classes use math, reading, and language skills while working on monthly budgets and retirement plans. What could be more important today?”
If you’ve ever spent any real-time traveling the country you’ve seen the horrific money management skills most Americans have. For the leftists who have been pushing for student loan forgiveness, this is because their finances won’t allow them any other way to get out of college debt. If they had received classes like this from the get-go, they might not have had these problems.
Even people who come from “well-off” families have suddenly found themselves without that safety net thanks to COVID. The long-lasting financial and emotional impacts the pandemic left on many families suddenly saw kids in college who never had to worry about swiping a card and it going through suddenly being forced to eat Ramen to survive.
As these educators said, mandating this course in Vermont is just the first step. It really should become a national movement. It certainly won’t hurt our kids to learn more financial literacy before we send them off into the world.