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Lawmakers Propose Financial Literacy Requirement In Michigan High Schools

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High schools in Michigan might have to add financial literacy to their curriculum.  Schools would have to offer a class on personal finance management skills like spending, saving, borrowing and investing to 11th and 12th graders.  That’s if a bipartisan billmaking its way through the state Legislature is passed.

“In the US, we’ve just passed a trillion in credit card debt and I just think it’s really important for the young students – 11th and 12th grade – to be prepared for their lives going forward,” said bill sponsor Diana Farrington(R-Utica).

But schools might raise concerns to the legislation.  Peter Spadafore is with the Michigan Association of School Administrators.  He says their organization hasn’t taken an official position on the bills yet, but he thinks there will be concerns about the state requiring yet another course.

“Particularly in schools where you might not have the faculty numbers to support adding a whole new class that might not be taken by everyone,” he said.  “This is not necessarily a money conversation, it’s more or less, there’s only so many hours in the day.”

Thirty-one percent of kids who went to college say their high school taught them good financial habits – that’s according to a 2016 study by the Bank of America and USA Today.  Almost half of the students surveyed say they wished they’d learned how to invest and how to do taxes.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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