education experts and from Americans across the nation,205 resulting in a fairly comprehensive
listing of necessary financial skills.
Some additional challenges to the implementation of a federal financial public education
curriculum include the standard litany of complaints offered in regards to adding concepts to
education curricula.206 For example, one may argue that there is not enough time in the school
day.207 This is undoubtedly true.208 However, financial concepts can be added to existing
subjects and provide a real-world connection between the subject matter and students.209 For
example, in math class, younger students could learn addition and subtraction with dollars and
coins, and older students could learn percentages by discussing interest rates.210 Economic
concepts and the history of money could be incorporated into social studies curriculum as well.211
In language arts, kids could read books about money and financial concepts, and write financial
goals for their future.212 Many of these integration techniques are already happening in some
schools;213 they just need to be expanded for increased consistency and education equality.
Some people also argue it is not the role of schools to provide a financial education.214
For all the reasons discussed in this Article, this thinking is shortsighted. Certainly, both parents
and the community have a major role to play in this type of education.215 But not all parents can
teach these concepts equally. Importantly, by leaving financial education to parents we are
permitting long-term damage to the wider American economy in the form of lost human capital
and economic crises generated, at least in part, by poor decision-making.216 Along these same
lines, one argument is that financial concepts are better taught in colleges and universities.217 The
problem with waiting to teach financial concepts until college is that many Americans do not
attend college, which is especially true for the already marginalized youth in America society,
meaning they would only be left further behind financially speaking.218 Though Americans may
205 Id. § 9701.
206 See FIN. LITERACY & EDUC. COMM’N, supra note 25, at 84 (analyzing the challenges of including financial education in the
209 Id. at 84-85.
210 Id. at 85.
211 Id. at 86-87.
212 See id. at 86 (suggesting lesson plans could integrate newspaper into the curricula with students reading about developments in the
213 Id. at 85-87.
214 Kadlec, supra note 13.
Teachers have enough to do. That’s what a lot of people say when it is suggested that we incorporate financial
education into our school system. Let educators focus on the three Rs; leave lessons in personal finance to
parents. After all, every family’s values and resources are different. At first blush, this approach seems to make
sense. Some researchers believe that kids who graduate from college tend to figure out personal finance
anyway. Meanwhile, just one in five teachers feels qualified to teach kids about money. So let schools do what
they do best: prepare students for higher education. But the very suggestion that financial education has no
place in our schools rankles financial literacy advocates and elicited groans from a recent panel diving into the
Id. On one website, twenty-five percent of respondents said “no” in response to the question: “Should public high schools start to
focus more on teaching practical skill sets, such as balancing checkbooks and investing, versus subjects such as American history and
art?” Education Opinions, DEBATE.ORG, http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-public-high-schools-start-to-focus-more-on-teaching-
practical-skill-sets-such-as-balancing-checkbooks-and-investing-versus-subjects-such-as-american-history-and-art (last visited Nov.
11, 2013). It should be noted that many of the “no” responses objected to the form of the question, and several clarified that they
thought both should be taught. Id.
215 FIN. LITERACY & EDUC. COMM’N, supra note 25, at 89.
216 PRESIDENT’S ADVISORY COUNCIL ON FIN. CAPABILITY, supra note 4.
217 Harnisch, supra note 28, at 3.
Despite the rapidly changing, increasingly sophisticated array of financial decisions confronting Americans
today, there still exists widespread levels of financial illiteracy—especially among low-income and minority