Commentary

Florida Becomes First State to Adopt National Financial Education Standards

by FinancialCorps, 07 July 2014

Florida Governor Rick Scott discusses the importance of financial education in schools.

Florida Governor Rick Scott discusses the importance of financial education in schools.

The financial literacy community is buzzing over news that Florida has become the first state to adopt the National Standards for Financial Literacy, after many of the state’s business, finance and other leaders have pushed for years to include financial education in the state’s school curricula. In roughly one year after Florida lawmakers made financial literacy instruction for high school students mandatory, the State Board of Education has now adopted a “financial literacy strand” into its social studies standards.

The National Standards were devised by an accomplished group of economists, education specialists, financial literacy researchers, and professionals from relevant organizations such as the Federal Reserve to promulgate the content that should comprise K-12 school curricula for personal finance instruction. Topics include budgeting, saving, investing, earning income, insurance, and other important financial education subject matters intended to empower students to make better informed decisions with respect to their personal financial affairs.

Many industry observers note that the adoption of the National Standards builds the foundation for a dedicated financial literacy course in high schools, which is the goal of many financial education proponents. The Florida Council for Economic Education has been working for more than three years with government, business, education and other leaders to integrate financial education into the state’s public school curriculum to the greatest extent possible.

The move by Florida to become the first adopter of the National Standards is seen widely as a bellwether that has the potential to prompt many more states to follow suit. The state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States already is showing positive signs of movement in that direction. However, while more states are implementing standards in financial education, there has been no meaningful progress in the number of states that mandate an economics or finance course as a requirement to graduate high school, with that number remaining constant at 22 for the last three years. Thus, with more work still to do for financial education advocates, the industry is widely applauding Florida for moving forward as the first state to adopt the National Standards, with many industry observers watching closely for more states to follow Florida’s lead in the months and years ahead.


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