States take action to make financial literacy a priority for students

In late October of last year, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill into law mandating that all high schoolers in the state take a half-credit, standalone personal finance class prior to graduation.

Upon the signing of the measure, Ohio became the 10th state in the Union to require personal financial literacy and education courses at the high school level. It is also the largest state to pass the bill, taking effect in more than 600 school districts.

“I was a banker for 41 years and I saw the results of us not teaching our children financial literacy,” said Ohio state Senator Steve Wilson, chair of the Ohio Senate’s Financial Institutions and Technology Committee, and a primary sponsor of the bill. “I wanted to do something about it.” Considering the timing with regard to the pandemic and so many businesses still fighting for their lives, there is little doubt Ohio is ahead of the curve.

According to Forbes, within the previous two years, seven states – Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia – successfully passed legislation mandating students take a semester of standalone personal finance education courses in high school; one is currently implementing the legislation (Iowa), four (Nebraska, Florida, Rhode Island, and now Ohio) are readying to implement the legislation in the near future.


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