5 Online Resources for Teaching Financial Literacy in the Classroom
5 Online Resources for Teaching Financial Literacy in the Classroom
PUBLISHED: Friday, April 20, 2018 by Katy McDowall

As students graduate high school and move onto college and/or the workforce, they are soon faced with very adult financial decisions. But are today’s students prepared? According to a recent report, only 24 states “mandate personal finance education, either through a separate class or as part of another course.”

The top states for financial literacy education include Utah, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia, according to Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy. All five states require students to take at least a half-year course in personal finance or, in some cases, finance instruction as part of a full-year course in order to graduate. Utah comes in at the top of the class, as students are also required to take an end-of-course state assessment, the educators teaching the personal finance class must obtain a specific endorsement, and general financial literacy is a funded mandate in the state.

At the same time, many states have been working toward improving their financial literacy education, according to the Center’s report. Among them, Arkansas recently passed a law requiring “more substantive personal finance education in high school, beginning with the class of 2021.” Texas, where financial literacy is usually taught as part of a required economics course, now requires high schools to offer a half-year class on personal financial literacy as an elective. Yet, other states, such as Idaho and Louisiana, have seen a dramatic decrease in required hours of financial literacy instruction.

This comes at a time in which the number of financial decisions individuals, including young adults, must make is on the rise. Only 31% of young Americans feel their high school education prepared them to make good financial decisions, and, at the same time, students are often not learning about finance at home. According to a recent survey, 69% of parents feel reluctant to discuss finances with their kids. Beyond that, according to this Forbes article, 18% of high school students do not reach the “baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy,” and only 57% of adults understand “basic financial literacy concepts such as interest compounding, inflation, and risk diversification.”

Understanding personal finances is an important milestone for high school and college-age students; however, it’s never too early for students to gain an understanding of money, credit, budgeting, and other concepts. As we come to the end of April, or Financial Literacy Month, here are five resources to keep financial literacy education alive in your classroom throughout the year:

  1. The National Education Association has a great list of resources related to financial literacy standards, as well as a variety of lesson plans for grades K–12.
  2. Mint also has an extensive list of resources for teaching kids about credit, financial responsibility, budgeting, banking, investing, and more.
  3. Currency Academy (grades K–5) is a new online platform run by the U.S. Currency Education Program that leads students through the art, science, and history of American money. There are also lesson plans related to money management, shopping, and paying restaurant bills.
  4. Edutopia features a list of financial literacy resources, including lesson plans, simulations, videos, and apps, as well as a variety of activities for grades K–8 and 9–12.
  5. InCharge Debt Solutions provides personal finance lesson plans for Pre-K–grade 6 and high school students, as well as resources for college students.