Funding Financial Literacy Programs

By Susan Black

By law, Oklahoma students need a passport to graduate from public high schools -- a passport that shows they’ve achieved financial literacy.

The Oklahoma legislature signed The Passport to Financial Literacy Act in 2007, requiring students -- beginning with seventh-graders in 2008-09 -- to demonstrate proficiency in 14 financial areas. Those areas include learning how to balance a checkbook and understanding predatory lending, payday loans, gambling debts, and bankruptcy.

School districts have flexibility to teach personal finance as a separate course or to integrate the topics into math and other subjects. Either way, Sandy Garrett, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, explains, schools must teach the learning standards in Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS), which she calls the “single largest curriculum project in the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s 101-year history.”

Lawmakers had no way of knowing in 2007 that the U.S. economic situation would be where it is today, making financial education for students now even more crucial than at any other time in recent history.

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