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Students need information on personal financial literacy

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Tony Evers
October 15, 2009

Financial literacy is an important part of preparing our students for a successful future. As we observe Money Smart Week, Oct. 10-17, the Department of Public Instruction has released a new publication, “Planning Curriculum in Personal Financial Literacy,” the first of its kind in the nation to offer comprehensive instruction in personal financial literacy for students.


Today’s young people face financial choices that have expanded well beyond what their parents or grandparents dealt with as teens and young adults. An estimated 80 percent of Wisconsin students work while they are in high school, and nearly one-third have personal checking accounts and credit cards in their own names.


From college savings plans to investment funds and various retirement accounts, to the wide range of borrowing options, students need to make wise financial decisions as they avoid excessive debt and have adequate resources to meet their personal financial goals.


To prepare our students for handling their personal finances, many school districts have partnered with their local credit unions to bring money-management information into the classroom. There are more than 40 credit unions operating branches in schools across Wisconsin. I recently visited a high school credit union in the Stevens Point Area School District that has proven to be an effective tool in exposing students to the skills needed to manage their money.


Wisconsin was the first state to develop content and performance standards that define what students should know and be able to do related to personal financial literacy. It is now the first to develop a curriculum-planning guide to help educators implement these standards.


A statewide task force of educators from elementary through postsecondary education developed this guide using the standards as well as a variety of other resources. “Planning Curriculum in Personal Financial Literacy” describes processes for designing curricula that emphasize the major components of personal financial literacy.


Tony Evers is the elected state superintendent of public instruction. Contact him at 125 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841; phone (608) 266-3559.
More information about “Planning Curriculum in Personal Financial Literacy” is available at www.dpi.wi.gov/pubsales/financial.html. The book may be purchased from DPI Publication Sales for $30. Call 1-800-243-8782.

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