In response to WBA's request during a recent editorial board visit, the Green Bay Press-Gazette has written the following editorial:
Senate Bill 212 is so simple that it’s one page.
It directs each school board in the state to “adopt academic standards for financial literacy and incorporate instruction in financial literacy into the curriculum in grades kindergarten to 12.”
That’s it. It sounds simple – incorporating financial literacy into each public school’s curriculum – and makes so much sense.
Our high school students should graduate as financially literate young adults.
When we talk about financial literacy, we talk about having knowledge how to budget, manage, invest and borrow money.
This type of literacy leads to a more stable community with more people in homes, said Teresa Schoffelman of Associated Bank in Green Bay.
Think about it, if you’re able to establish a savings account, budget your money, and know the importance of your credit history, you’ll know what you can realistically afford when you go for your first home or car loan.
The best place to start this literacy is in school.
The problem is, it’s not required, so not everyone is getting that education. If financial literacy is not required, it becomes one of those boring courses you don’t bother with.
Student loans, vehicle loans, home loans, leases for housing … they all require a basic financial literacy so you don’t get taken advantage of after high school.
Twenty states have adopted financial education requirements, as of 2016. Sixty-four percent of the school districts required it in Wisconsin. For example, the Green Bay School District requires a one-semester class in order to graduate.
For those who don’t have a requirement, we urge the Legislature to require one.
We understand that this would be an unfunded mandate. However, the bill gives school districts wide latitude in developing courses. And there are financial institutions in almost every community willing to help out.
The Press-Gazette Editorial Board met with three bankers and two members of the Wisconsin Bankers Association. They heartily endorse this bill and they’re willing to be the resource that school districts can use as they write curriculum or instruct students.
“They can tap us; we’re a resource,” said Daniel J. Peterson, president and CEO of Stephenson National Bank & Trust in Marinette.
Many school districts already have teachers who can teach, or already are, teaching this subject matter.
Requiring students take financial literacy courses forces those school districts that don’t to offer their students skills they’ll start using before even graduating.
The Senate bill and its Assembly companion have the rare kind of bipartisan support you don’t see too often these days.
This type of knowledge is something students will use after school gets out, and for the rest of their lives.
We call on the Legislature to support this bill. It’s a good investment in our future adults.
The editorial was originally published by the Green Bay Press-Gazette here.