Virginia teens should expect their class schedules to look a little different next year: math, social studies, biology … personal finance.
The Washington Post Magazine reports that Virginia will become the fourth state to institute mandatory personal finance courses for incoming high school freshmen. Maryland will be the 21st state to adopt an “integrated” approach to teaching personal finance, where skills are taught in classes like social studies and math.
And it’s not just high schoolers who will learn more. The National Financial Educators Council will launch a personal finance course for children ages three to eight, or pre-kindergarten through second grade. Along with their curriculum, they have an educator instruction program to help adults prepare to best impart financial know-how to young children.
It’s about time. A 2010 survey by Charles Schwab found that 93% of teens ages 16-18 say that their families have been affected by the recession, so as much as we like to think kids and teens are oblivious to the value of money (related: get off our lawn), it simply isn’t true. Although some educators doubt the effectiveness of these programs, they haven’t been in place long enough for significant data.
Who knows? Maybe kids have even more to teach us about money than we can teach them. And any class about personal finance is better than no class about personal finance … it can’t be worse than “study hall.”