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Nice job on the financial literacy article, Jason. I especially like state breakdowns and maps. Very telling.

I think it's so cool you got to interview Arne Duncan. As a long time person in the field of education, I wanted to throw out some "big picture" issues that you may or may not be aware of.

This is the era of accountability, which means a huge emphasis on testing. In our state, less than half of the school districts met the federal standard last year, which could lead to sanctions down the road. Some of this is due to changing the state test. Even so, it's nuts when our very affluent school district did not meet state standards. They should look at our SAT and Advanced Placement scores, etc. because they are quite high and much more telling of actual academic success. Nuts I tell you. The problem is that legislators and administrators spend so much time worrying about state and federal accountability ratings now days that they have little time to think about extremely important things like financial education. Testing in our state is out of control and now a federal test is being developed as well. While more rigorous standards have been put in place, education funding keeps getting cut little by little. Ironic if you ask me. I hope your message can get beyond the noise of the accountability era where statewide tests and federal requirements have too much weight. The No Child Behind Act is good so that low performing kids aren't forgotten, but it punishes the others and keeps school districts from being able to focus on other life skills such as financial literacy (and for some students learning a career/technology skill since they likely will not go to college).

Stepping off my soapbox but sometimes I don't think people outside of education understand that all of the federal and state accountability pressure has public schools off balance right now. Big time. Getting worse with every year. My $.02.

Your article is on the mark on the need, and I couldn't agree more. I just wanted you to be aware of the "noise" because the pressure is often hidden to all but the educators. Also, with the rise in kids failing state exams, there is a rise in kids unable to get a diploma....which is a whole other financial disaster in the works if you ask me. I guess it's possible that many of these kids would have dropped out years ago though....when it was legal. Who knows?!

More than anyone ever wanted to know.

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