Tennessee May Soon Require Financial Literacy Classes For High School Students

The Tennessee State Board of Education is expected to pass a bill on January 25th that will make Tennesee the eighth state (after Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah) to require that its high school students take a personal finance class before graduation.

Tennessee has “one of the highest numbers of bankruptcy filings in the nation,” and its students scored lower than the national average on a personal finance test (not that the national average—38%—was anything to be proud of):

Scores of Tennessee high schools already offer a personal finance course as an elective. But a 2006 survey by JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy shows that only 29.8 percent of Tennessee students who took a personal finance test passed it. The test covered topics from money management to savings and debt. Nationally, 38 percent of students who took the test passed it.

According to the National Council on Economic Education, only one state required any sort of personal finance class to graduate in 1998, six states required it in 2004, and seve in 2007. Is this the beginning of a real shift in teaching personal financial literacy?

“State pushes money literacy” [The Tennessean]

“Report Card – Survey of the States: Economic, Personal Finance, and Entrepreneurship Education in Our Nation’s Schools in 2007” [NCEE]
(Photo: Getty)