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FACS Teachers Ahead of the Curve with Financial Education

financial literacyTo many FACS teachers is sounded like an early April Fool’s joke when in March, the Council for Economic Education, a nonprofit promoting financial education, unveiled new standards for teacher financial education. Time Magazine reports…

The new standards, to be formally unveiled next month, establish clear benchmarks for what kids should know by the end of grades 4, 8, and 12. They are broken into six personal finance categories:

  • Earning income This includes collecting rent, stock dividends and interest on bonds. It also includes a discussion of the labor market and how education may lead to higher wages.
  • Buying goods and services This includes planning, comparing, budgeting and making choices.
  • Saving This includes near- and long-term goals and how time, interest rates and inflation affect savings.
  • Using credit This includes borrowing options and how credit history helps determine availability of credit and the rate of interest that you pay.
  • Investing This includes risk, rates of return and diversification.
  • Protecting and insuring This includes potential loss of health, assets, income and identity, and how behavior affects the  cost of insurance.

The Time author seemed to include the ironic punch line…

The challenge is getting teachers to buy in. They often lack confidence to teach this material. Let’s hope the new national standards for financial literacy in conjunction with efforts like JumpStart’s and the federal government’s common core initiative gives them the tools they need to get over that hurdle.

After all, FACS teachers have been preparing students with financial education for generations. For example at Learning ZoneXpress we have a range of curricular materials related to finance, budget and business. It’s been supporting FACS teachers for years.

We are sharing (with permission) another view of the new standards…

Response to “Coming Soon: New Standards for Teaching Kids about Money”
By Cynthia Simmons  March 18, 2013

Family and Consumer Science (FCS or FACS) educators have been well trained in teaching personal finance for over a century.  We have demonstrated that the FCS (or FACS) courses can cover this topic-while incorporating both the FCS and core standards.  As a segment of Career and Technical Education (CTE; vocational), we have always had to demonstrate that the curriculum dovetails with both sets of standards.  FCS teachers have the time to put into such courses at both the middle and high school levels, without also being responsible for teaching specifics related to math equations, poetry and masterpiece readings.  Our curriculum incorporates active learning that includes those types of component too, but associated with everyday life examples that students can personally relate to.  Some high schools require that all students in the district take the FCS Personal Finance course for graduation credit.  Members of the Michigan Board of Education have supported adopting this as our policy state-wide, with Family and Consumer Science teachers being the most qualified to teach the course.

The core teachers often mention how rushed they are to cover the basic concepts associated with their current standards.  Adding more standards and subjects to core classes with educators who were not trained in such areas might lead to low quality outcomes for students. Does this sound like a solid move for our students? The students will need financial skills every day of their adult lives.  FCS educators are prepared to teach personal finance with well designed lessons in an environment where the subject is the focus, not just another standard to check off after a lesson is completed.  The idea of using educationally sound methods to cover such important “life lessons” that are needed by everyone throughout adulthood is very good for our students.  Having the Family and Consumer Science educators teach the lessons is the right thing to do.

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