Iowa Governor unveils recommendations from ICUF Executive Director and other members of statewide Financial Literacy Work Team

DES MOINES, IA (September 16, 2014) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds were joined at their weekly press conference yesterday by Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck, Iowa Credit Union Foundation (ICUF) Executive Director Jaimie Miller and representatives from the Iowa Bankers Association and Community Bankers of Iowa to announce the recommendations of the Financial Literacy Work Team. Buck convened the 13-member work team in January of 2014 to ensure Iowa students are learning the financial literacy skills needed for success.

“We know our children need to be financially literate in order to have a bright future and many Iowans, including educators, financial services experts, and elected officials have expressed concerns about the status of financial literacy in Iowa,” Branstad said. “I’m pleased the Financial Literacy Work Team has completed its review and offered recommendations for the state to move forward educating our young people on how to make smart, responsible financial decisions.”

Branstad called the recommendations common sense standards with support from credit unions, banks and financial institutions, which provide excellent resources on financial literacy throughout the state.

The work team included Miller, representatives from public and nonpublic schools, financial services, higher education and the Iowa Department of Education. The group’s recommendations included the following:

  1. Take a close look at the financial literacy requirements for K-12 schools, which is included in the 21st century skills portion of Iowa’s statewide academic standards. The work team’s idea is to make sure the financial literacy component is clear and age appropriate.
  2. Provide more support for schools around putting into practice the financial literacy component of the standards. More support would include providing better, more centralized resources to teachers.
  3. Tap into external stakeholder groups with expertise in financial literacy to assist in professional development trainings for teachers.
  4. Review how school districts approach financial literacy education.
  5. Improve communication statewide to keep a focus on this important issue.

Miller, whose mission at ICUF is to help Iowans build wealth, responsibility and independence, said Iowa’s credit unions and other financial institutions want to help students become more financially literate from an early age.

“More and more young people are graduating college with a crippling amount of debt,” Miller said. “Many of whom are completely unaware of the impact their finances can have on future pursuits they may take for granted, such as marriage or owning a home.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds said the recommendations will help guide the department on financial literacy moving forward and create a central, online location for financial literacy content.

“As former Clarke County treasurer, I understand the importance of financial literacy. I saw how far too many Iowans struggle to understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to issues like tax payments and license fees,” said Reynolds. “Success in the 21st century requires being financially literate. These recommendations will help us focus on assuring that all students fully understand financial commitments and decisions.”

Buck said the recommendations will help to raise the profile of the issue and make the resources more readily available to teachers of students of all ages.

“We must do more to help students understand the power of financial literacy. And given that there’s this groundswell of support among stakeholders to be part of the solution, it made great sense to form the Financial Literacy Work Team,” said Buck. “At the Iowa Department of Education, we have moved forward by designating a staff member to the issue of financial literacy and we’ll work to provide leadership around professional development activities and a central online location for high-quality resources for teachers.”

The full report, including the Financial Literacy Work Team’s recommendations, can be found here.

Photo: Left to Right: Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Gov. Terry Branstad, Department of Education Director Brad Buck, Jackie Haley, Membership Services Director at Community Bankers of Iowa, Jaimie Miller, Executive Director of the of the Iowa Credit Union Foundation and Lori Ristau, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Iowa Bankers Association.

About the Iowa Credit Union Foundation
Founded in 1995 as the philanthropic arm of the Iowa Credit Union League, the Iowa Credit Union Foundation’s (ICUF) primary focus is to eliminate poverty in the state of Iowa. ICUF seeks to carry out its mission to help Iowans build wealth, responsibility and independence through its various programs, grants and scholarships. For more information, visit

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