General Treasurer Seth Magaziner has joined with Senator Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) and Representative Joseph McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) to introduce legislation that will expand the teaching of personal finance in Rhode Island's public high schools.
Magaziner, Cano and McNamara were joined by a diverse group of stakeholders, including teachers, students, legislators, and community organizations who support the effort to ensure that all Rhode Island student have access to personal finance education.
"Thirty-six states guarantee students access to personal finance education in their public schools, but Rhode Island does not," said Treasurer Seth Magaziner. "Financial education is vital in setting young people up for success in life, and Rhode Island has fallen behind in offering financial education in our schools."
While seven Rhode Island school districts have made personal finance a graduation requirement, and most Rhode Island high schools offer classes that include personal finance, Rhode Island is an outlier in not guaranteeing that all students benefit from personal finance education.
The legislation introduced by Magaziner, Cano and McNamara, Chairman of the Health, Education and Welfare Committee, would require all public high schools to offer a class that includes personal finance beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, and would require students to demonstrate proficiency in personal finance by the 2021-2022 school year.
"We are letting our children down by not teaching them the most important and most needed skill in adulthood - financial literacy. Without adequate financial literacy, our graduating students are put at a distinct disadvantage in starting their adult lives. This must end for the sake of our students and I am looking forward to working with Treasurer Magaziner to ensure Rhode Island's kids get the financial education that will benefit them so much later in life," said Sen. Sandra Cano.
"All adults should possess the skills necessary to manage their money wisely," said Rep. McNamara. "Not knowing the basics can lead to a web of bad credit and poor financial decisions. A high school diploma becomes a lot more valuable when it comes along with the ability to manage personal finances and avoid a lifetime of debt."
A recent report published by the Treasurer's office outlines the need for personal finance education in Rhode Island schools, the positive impact that financial education can have the long-term financial health of students, and a path toward ensuring that all Rhode Island students receive access to personal finance education.
The report can be downloaded at: treasury.ri.gov/FallenBehind
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