Back to School – Why Don’t More Iowa Schools Teach This Subject? [OPINION]
Time to play the Alice Cooper hit School's Out backward cuz, school's back! Back this year when kids return to the classroom, there's one subject matter that I feel could really be a benefit, but is likely to go untaught. And it's a shame. If I had a better grasp as a kid of this subject, I feel it would have could have been a very positive part of my life.
It's time to teach kids finance
Finance: a term that can mean so, so much. When I was a junior in high school, I took a finance class. It was an elective. Not required, and not a helpful class. I do have some memories. We learned how to balance a checkbook (WOW is that an outdated thing to know). We discussed investments like 401K and savings... but not in great detail.
We didn't learn a thing about the stock market. No discussion about the difference between an IRA and a Roth IRA. Zero discussion about retirement savings. I get it. At 16, you probably couldn't care less about what you'll be at age 65. But, it wouldn't hurt to try and teach it. A good teacher should be able to connect with his/her students and help them understand these core subjects that impact -literally - every single one of us.
Teaching finance puts all kids on an even playing field
In a public school setting, all kids come from different backgrounds. Some have wealthy parents, some are impoverished. Some are middle class. WHat a public school can offer is an even playing field. Teaching those whose parents have little understanding of markets, and hence can offer little to their children in terms of knowledge. A school can teach a student new to this country about aspects of our economy that the student could then help explain to their parents. It's a win-win for everyone.
There are so many aspects of finance - from protection against identity theft to protecting passwords, there's so much meat on the bone for educators. And, why wait until high school? Wouldn't it be beneficial to at least get some of these themes and ideas into their heads at a young age? I don't have children, at least not yet. But if/when I do, I hope they are taught to understand money management in ways dad was not.
Did you have financial education classes in high school, or earlier grade levels? If so, did it have a strong impact on you? I can balance a checkbook... Kind of.
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