Push to require financial literacy course to graduate gains momentum

In a world where your credit score means more than your character in some cases, financial literacy is more important now than perhaps ever before.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 4:41 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - In a world where your credit score means more than your character in some cases, financial literacy is more important now than perhaps ever before. This one seemed like it was a no-brainer for those on the panel this morning with everyone in the House Education Committee voting in support.

However, there were a couple of questions about what the course would look like. According to state Treasurer John Schroder, more than half of us here in Louisiana have a net worth of zero. And, it has folks extra concerned about what this means for our kids.

“We’re 50th in the nation, we have to address the problem, this is a good way to do it. We’ll be one of the first states at the top of the list that are doing this,” said Rep. Nicholas Muscarello (R) who wrote the bill.

The bill specifically requires the successful completion of a one-unit course in financial literacy as a requirement to graduate. Both the state’s superintendent and treasurer testified in support of the plan.

“Whether it’s checking accounts or savings or contracts or insurance, parents are feeling as if students aren’t prepared to step into the next season of their life and understand those things,” said Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley.

“In 2023 we were the second least financially literate state in America. So, I absolutely believe this is something that could help,” Treasurer Schroder added.

Though everyone in the room was in support, there were a couple of concerns.

“Is this a disincentive for our bright students to be taking calculus, statistics, and things that are more advanced?” asked Rep. Barbara Frieberg (R).

“Why now do you think it’s required at this time, because you’ve heard it a long time. I’m sure people on this committee have heard it,” Rep. Amy Phelps (D).

Financial Advisor Fred Dent said it is never too early for young students to begin learning how to handle their money. Additionally, if students know how to not only save their money but invest it early on, it could only benefit them.

“Financial literacy should start at a much younger age so that kids can learn the basics of money. Monday people exit the school system, and they don’t even know how to get along in the world financially. Look, if there’s a net worth of zero, this is the way out. Learn how to make money, learn how to start a business, that’s the way true wealth is created, through business ownership and equity ownership over the long-term,” said Dent.

We spoke with students at LSU about if they could have benefited from a class like this.

“I definitely think it would help a lot of people if they at least offered that in high school,” said one student.

“It’d be beneficial to not only those students but to their families as well. It’d be beneficial to many generations because just the kids learning it, they can teach their family and kinda grow family wealth with them,” another explained.

“I honestly haven’t learned anything about financial literacy, and I feel like anyone can benefit from it,” added a third student.

This bill passed with full support and no change, it now heads to the floor.

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