Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Teaching Financial Literacy


According to a 2007 survey commissioned by the National Council on Economic Education, only seven states currently require high school students to receive financial education in the school system. What about the other 43 states?

We need look no further than the daily news headlines about the mortgage meltdown, the stock market crisis, the housing slump, or the rising cost of oil to see how relevant financial literacy is.

We force students to learn trigonometry, yet how many of us ever use it again after graduation? In contrast, how many transactions involving money will we each conduct on a daily basis for the rest of our lives? - "We teach teens trigonometry, why not Money 101?" by Braun Mincher


Of course this author is correct: the modern world is complex enough that we all need whatever education we can get in the ways of its finances.

However, he hasn't pointed out why we don't teach financial literacy. It would ruin our pretense that schools are training camps for careers, not for life itself. This is why art classes are sacred, and we try to teach literature to kids with IQs under 110 even though we know it's gobbledygook to them.

Why don't we teach kids life literacy? That forces us to admit that our schools are basically vocational training for desk jobs, and for those who fail, another few years before they become full time fry cooks.

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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