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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 76077  
Subject: Re: Retirement education? Date: 1/27/2005 5:35 PM
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I'm not sure I follow your logic, you thought financial education was valuable enough to teach at home, yet not important enough for the school curriculum?


But the magic question is where does the funding for such additional coursework come from? Today, the Federal government has an entire host of mandates, mostly unfunded, some of which are generally grouped under the umbrella of No Child Left Behind. And they keep adding more and more mandates and continue to provide less and less funding. Then, of course, there are the mandates provided by each state.

In MA, the state tells us what the curriculum is with very little room left for electives of any sort. The funding formula here for what the state requires is so skewed that the state recently lost a lawsuit about regarding its inability to live up to its own legislation and fund the education that they require. I don't know yet what that will do to our funding, but I bet it still won't meet the level needed to do the mandates they require.

In addition, I agree with reallyalldone that I am not convinced that this is the best subject for the schools to teach, though I can be convinced it could be an elective provided that the funding is also put into it and not have yet another unfunded mandate. In fact, I saw an announcement this week from the MA DOE that they have partnered with the MA Office for Consumer Affairs in providing what they call a free program to teach finances to high school students. Being well-acquainted, however, with what MA considers to be 'free' [it usually translates to not costing the state a penny but all being passed on to the districts/municipalities], I am dying to see what they've come up with.

However, I find that the general basics are already taught in school. They still teach percentages and how those can compound. They teach how to read graphs and understand economics data. They teach quite a lot that should provide the foundation for a child to be able to have some reasonable understanding of how things like credit card interest and mortgages work.

My 13-year-old twins can already tell you how compound interest works. They know what stocks are and how they can help you to grow your nest egg. They have brokerage accounts, Roth IRA's, DRP's, and savings accounts. We will move on to checking accounts and credit cards as they get older.

But I do still consider financial education to be much more something that belongs to the parents to be teaching their children just as with most of the life skills they need to be out on their own, quite a few of which are not taught in schools nor do I expect them to be. Things like cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry, mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, doing the dishes, cooking, and managing their own finances.

So no, I do not believe that this should be required in school, and I am most certainly not willing to give up core subjects and other programs to get it in there.
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