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Financial Literacy Class Will be a New Graduation Requirement for Stoughton High Students

A financial literacy class will be offered to SHS juniors and seniors starting next school year. The course, which focuses on subjects like budgeting, savings, loans, mortgages and stocks, will be a graduation requirement starting for the Class of 2017.

Budgeting, savings, loans, mortgages and stocks are just some of the subjects Stoughton High students will be discussing as part of a new financial literacy course, which will be offered starting next school year.

Stoughton High School Principal Julie Miller presented the 2013-2014 SHS Program of Studies at the Jan. 8 School Committee meeting.  In her comprehensive overview, Miller highlighted the new offerings for SHS students, including the class on financial literacy, which will be part of the school’s business pathway offerings. 

The semester-long class is aimed at 11th and 12th grade students. It will be a new graduation requirement starting with the Class of 2017 (this year’s 8th graders and next year’s freshmen).

“We want to prepare [current students] for life...this will give them the base to make some wise decisions,” Miller said.

When seeking the School Committee’s approval of the Financial Literacy course, Miller asked the members to consider the following alarming statistics (from The State of Financial & Economic Education):

  • In 2010, more individuals filed for bankruptcy than graduated from college.
  • ⅓ of parents are more comfortable talking with their kids about smoking, drugs and bullying than about money.
  • 30% of 18-24 year olds income goes towards the payment of debt.
  • Only 56% of teens plan to save some of their income, down from 89% in 2011.
  • 75% of credit card carrying college students were unaware of late payment charges.
  • 81% of college students underestimate how long it will take to pay off a credit card balance.
  • Current Student Loan Debt exceeds $1 trillion, that is greater than the national credit card debt.
  • 30% of college students with loans drop out of college without a degree.

While approximately 46 states include personal finance in their standards, including Massachusetts, only 13 have it as a graduation requirement. 

As described in the 2013-2014 SHS Program of Studies:

This course provides students with an introduction to financial literacy. Topics include budgeting, savings and financial institutions, credit cards, auto, personal and school loans, mortgages, stocks and the stock market, insurance, retirement accounts and other key aspects of financial strength for personal accounts.

Miller explains that Stoughton’s financial literacy course “opens it up to more than just personal finance, it’s more encompassing providing a more global view, not just a personal view.” 

Miller said that the course will present, “relevant and important information for all students, regardless of their after high school plans.”

“It is a trend that we are ahead of.  It is certainly a need, it will continue to be a need,” Miller added, and the School Committee agrees, overwhelmingly giving its support for the financial literacy course.

Vicki January 23, 2013 at 04:25 PM
My daughter who is a senior this year, took a personal finance class in her sophomore year. She didn't think she would like the class, but she loved the class and learned alot. In fact when she got her first job, she saved more than she spent!
Tanzania School Foundation January 23, 2013 at 05:00 PM
This is a great idea! Congratulations SHS...a class well needed in today's day!
SoxFan January 23, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Does this mean they'll lose their elective with another mandatory class?
Jillian January 24, 2013 at 12:30 AM
LOVE this idea! I would rather have them taking this class than bumming around learning nothing in study hall!
SoxFan January 25, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Some kids don't have a study class or much of one. I'm wondering about those who have a rigorous schedule already and may lose music.
Council for Economic Education February 19, 2013 at 06:11 PM
For a link to the statistics sited in this article, visit www.surveyofthestates.com or reach out to the Council for Economic Education if you want to implement financial literacy classes in your school or district.
DJ February 19, 2013 at 07:33 PM
First off, I've always opposed "study" time/classes, but what does this have to do with loosing music?
DJ February 19, 2013 at 07:36 PM
I applaud this offering, but only because kids aren't being taught these skills at home. Kids should have age appropriate jobs and duties and should open a bank account and an early age to learn the importance of savings and budgeting. I do not know a single family member or friend who practices what used to be commonplace direction.

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