Oklahoma Joins Other States that Require Teaching High School Students to Manage Their Finances

Association of Educators
March 12, 2014 — 771 views  

High school students in Oklahoma will be taught priceless business skills from this May onwards. They must show that they understand taxes, insurance, banking, investing, identity theft and eight other financial concepts if they want to graduate. Teachers need to formally certify the practical knowledge of the students in this regard.

Difficulties

Although a few Oklahoma schools which offered a personal finances course even before the compulsory requirement instantly complied with the legislation, many others are struggling to meet the new requirement. This additional requirement of the curriculum led them to order students to sit in the front of school computers for a quick fix, self-taught mode of learning.

According to Amy Lee, Executive Director, Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, the government arm that lobbied the legislation and developed the curriculum, the Oklahoma state has one of strongest educational standards in the US. She compared it with states where there is a requirement of five standards when it comes to savings, investing and earning, whereas Oklahoma has a total of 14 standards. The list of Oklahoma includes standards which are particular to the state, like the giving of charity, gambling and its financial fallout, and bankruptcy.

Lee said that the problem lies with the ambiguity of the law, which does not include any funding for the school districts to hire teachers who can exclusively teach financial subjects.  She also noted the fact that the districts are allowed to implement the legislative requirement anytime during the seventh to 12th grade and utilize the curriculum offered by the department of education in the state or create one of their own based on any source.

Consequence of the lack of funding

It is subsequently seen that a number of school districts all over the state are pushing the curriculum into history, government or other subject classes. A few schools in rural areas like northwestern Oklahoma are initiating their efforts with assistance from the Cherokee Nation Foundation.

A prime example is Joe Griese, who works as a certified physical education teacher entrusted with in-school suspension and study hall, overseeing computer centric, semester length classes for Ada Junior High freshmen. He does his duty with two history teachers and confirms that the students are taught to live by themselves.

Freshmen at Kingston High School undergo a life skills class which continues for about a year. The projects undertaken by students include the future income of spouses and paying a hypothetical bank for advertised homes and cars.

Association of Educators