Capstone Course of Financial Literacy Framework Equips Students With Necessary Real-World Skills
For many years, Illinois has placed a high priority on the financial literacy of its students, as one of the first states to implement rigorous economic and personal finance standards. This semester, its largest city continues to raise the bar for school systems nationwide: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) introduces a dedicated personal finance course for 12th-graders with resources developed by the Council for Economic Education (CEE).
CEE’s local affiliates Econ Illinois and the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Economic Education (UIC) provided significant support in the form of training and strategy, working closely with a dedicated group of CPS teachers to implement the course. Created to provide students with the necessary real-world skills to navigate today’s financial landscape, this course is the first piece of a broader K-12 Financial Literacy Guide launching in Fall 2013.
The one-semester course will use curriculum provided by the CEE, based on Learning, Earning and Investing (LEI) and the associated online game Gen i Revolution, as well as Financial Fitness for Life (FFFL), offering seniors both an academic challenge and an education in the real life lessons they need beyond graduation. Lessons will cover basics such as the language of financial markets, gathering information on investments, and the nature of financial institutions in the U.S. economy, and will teach students how to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions about important aspects of personal finance. CPS’ 12th grade personal finance course will eventually form the capstone of the forthcoming K-12 Financial Literacy Guide, which will incorporate financial literacy into classes taught through 11th grade.
The capstone course and K-12 Financial Literacy Guide will be integrated with CPS’ civics curriculum, marking a significant change in their current approach; taught as a cohesive unit, the school system promotes learning beyond the classroom and into the community, encouraging students to engage more fully as citizens.
“It is critically important to prepare students for the real-life financial challenges ahead of them, by providing them with the education they need,” said Nan J. Morrison, CEO and President of CEE. “Certainly the economic events of the past several years have put a particular highlight on the need, but these lessons are equally necessary in boom times. When people are well-educated, they make informed choices, an essential skill at every age and time.“
The course will be introduced to approximately 25 schools in spring 2013 and is expected to reach all district high schools by 2016. Discover Financial Services has generously supported this initiative with $1 million grant, which also includes training for 250 teachers over the next three years.
Additional partners in the development of the Financial Literacy Guide include: Ariel Investments, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, JP Morgan Chase, National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), CME Group Foundation (Chicago Mercantile Exchange), Chicago Community Trust, Junior Achievement (JA), Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, City Treasurer’s Office, EverFi and the Economic Awareness Council, Money Savvy Generation, CARE, Girl Scouts of America/Journey World, Illinois Credit Union League and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.