Financial Education: What Discover is Doing to Teach Money Basics in Schools
THE NEED: In a National Bureau of Economic Research study, adults scored a grade of “C” in financial literacy while high school students failed.
At ClassWallet we streamline the tracking and distribution of education funds. Here on our blog we provide tips from financial experts to help you manage your district budget and cover financial information for the education world. For this post we take a look at financial education for students and the pressing need for it through our chat with Matt Towson, Director of Community Affairs at Discover.
What is the current state, in your opinion, of financial literacy in the United States?
Statistics show that a majority of Americans lack the knowledge to make good financial decisions. In a National Bureau of Economic Research study, adults scored a grade of “C” in financial literacy while high school students failed.
- Discover believes in providing our customers with the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions about money and we know there is a clear need for financial education in schools too. We understand that many states are not requiring students to learn about money basics at school.
- And many schools lack the resources to add curriculum. Both teachers and parents say they are uncomfortable talking to kids about money, but both believe financial education is important.
What is your company doing in the K-12 space around financial education to help solve this problem?
To address the issue, Discover made a five-year, $10 million investment to get financial education into public high schools across the country. Through our program, Pathway to Financial Success, we’re providing grants to public high schools and districts to cover the costs of implementing a personal finance course, giving them access to a standards-based curriculum and offering teachers the training they need to deliver it. The program has provided grants to nearly 1,900 school across the country and reached more than one million students.
One thing that makes Pathway different is that rather than simply looking at how many students received financial education as a result of our grants, we measure the extent to which they are learning the material. Schools reporting shows test scores increased an average of two letter grades after students complete a financial education course.
In what areas of the country do you focus?
Through Pathway to Financial Success we have provided support to bring financial education into Chicago Public Schools high schools along with school districts in San Bernardino, California, Miami, Florida, Boston, Massachusetts, and Detroit, Michigan.
We also support Junior Achievement (JA) across the country with the help of hundreds of employee volunteers. Employees teach financial education and entrepreneurship materials in K-12 classrooms and volunteer in local JA BizTowns to help students learn more about business and finances.
These are some of the ways we give back to customers and our community. Discover’s been involved in financial education for over 15 years. Helping people achieve brighter financial futures is our company’s mission. And getting financial education into our schools and communities are ways we hope to achieve that. We think it’s critical that kids develop the skills they need to manage their finances so they can achieve a brighter financial future.
Any district interested in receiving a grant to implement a financial education curriculum can visit Pathway to Financial Success today.