In order to graduate high school you are required to have a certain number of credits in a variety of subjects. Students have to take a certain number of courses in categories such as core classes (english, math, science, etc), health education, and art. Although many of these classes can and will help you later in life, it seems a crucial course requirement has been left out– the financial class.
Shortly after graduating, many students are already stressed and concerned with issues such as how to file taxes, what a mortgage is, and how to pay for insurance. They simply never learn how to handle these things until they actually have to do them. But these questions and fears could all be resolved if students were required to take at least one financial course while in high school.
Currently, only four states require you to take a personal finance course in order to graduate high school, and 13 schools require a money management course. Many argue that the already-required economics course is more than enough for students, but they often do not cover all the fundamentals students need to know in the real world. For instance, many college-bound students struggle to assess their student loans, and end up deep in debt a few years outside of high school.
Depsite the positives, there are actually a few reasons why financial courses aren’t required to graduate, and remain asbent entirely from some schools. One being that there aren’t any financial questions on standardized tests like the SAT and the ACT. Many follow the line of reasoning that if a subject is not tested, there’s no reason to require it.
Since schools are run at the state level, even if the federal government want students to take financial courses, the final decision still rests with each individual state. In addition, there are a very slim number of teachers actually qualified to teach financial courses, which in return results in a scarcity of these courses throughout the United States.
Despite these roadblocks, many companies and organizations push for these courses to be taught in school. One such organization is the Dave Ramsey Foundation, which offers a personal finance program to help educate adolescents on the struggles of being in debt, and how to save their money. This class is currently implemented in one of every four high schools across the nation. Florida Virtual School (FLVS) offers financial classes to take as a social studies/elective course.
In my opinion, financial courses should be required in high school in order to prepare the coming generation of adults. These classes are instrumental in preparing them for the finances they will be handling in the years following high school. Without these classes, students could graduate without any idea of how to go about handling taxes and bills, how to finance their mortgages, or which insurances they will need. These skills are utilized on a daily basis, and will continue to be useful until the end of their lives. Even if these skills won’t be tested on the SAT, ensuring that students know them will end up paying off countless times over for future generations, which is why they need to be required in our schools.
Dillon Schmidt/Staff Writer