October was National Economic Education Month, and the importance of enhancing students’ economic education is higher than ever. Especially as students approach adulthood, teaching young and rising adults to make productive, economical decisions is an often overlooked chief interest. Should there be more focus on economic education in the curriculum?
The Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act was introduced March 5, 2019 into Florida Legislation. At the end of the 2019 legislative session on May 3, the bill was withdrawn from consideration. Rather than making financial literacy mandatory in Florida schools, Governor Ron DeSantis proposed an optional elective course.
Pine View’s personal financial literacy class is a semester-long elective class taught to grades 9-12. The course has more fluidity than an AP course, which focuses more on a set curriculum and testing. Alternatively, financial literacy puts a stronger spotlight on other skills that will be used in the adult life after high school.
“[I love] the fact that it’s very relatable to life. It’s something that the kids can use, and it’s very relevant … I like the fact that it’s very skill oriented,” personal financial literacy teacher Roma Jagdish said.
Using resources such as EVERFI and following a flexible curriculum, students in Jagdish’s personal financial literacy class learn skills such as managing college debt, buying a car, and understanding 401(k) and retirement. A recent project involved students choosing one subject within financial literacy to teach the class about.
“Skills like that are very important because [without them] there’s just this big gap not knowing basic things … They help you navigate life, so these skills you definitely need,” Jagdish said.
The class has a total of 13 students, which makes it far from packed. One of these students, eleventh-grader Iris Dahlborg, said she decided to take the course because being financially literate was important to her and her life.
“I know that Pine View is very focused on specifically academics and math and sciences… [but learning financial literacy and other life skills] is something that will help people in real life. It applies to what people will be doing later on,” Dahlborg said.
The course is not meant to be exhaustingly meticulous, but rather has the purpose of giving students a head start in preparation for life after high school.
“[People] turn 18 and go out into the real world without any knowledge about what they’re supposed to be doing or how to invest, or how to deal with credit cards… [We’re learning] more useful things that people should know,” Dahlborg said.
Skills needed for everyday life are not limited to economics. In fact, life skills classes could include anything from cooking classes, to sewing, to learning how to change a tire or a lightbulb. Giving students the resources they need could transform them into adapted and qualified grownups.
Despite Pine View’s intense drive for raising students with core academics, the need for smart decision makers and experienced individuals are just as necessary — after all, not all the knowledge in the world can be found in a textbook.