Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Education Secretary Rod Paige today announced several new steps in the Administration’s ongoing effort to improve financial education among American children and young adults.
“As we shape our children into adults, we must acknowledge that part of being an adult is to develop and understand individual financial objectives,” said Secretary O’Neill. “The best place to start is in our schools and the most effective approach is through the integration of financial education into the core curricula of reading and math.”
“Our goal at the Department of Education is to meet the President’s goal of educating every child in our public schools, so that no child is left behind,” said Secretary Paige. “Not only does that include teaching them to read and write and learn all the skills they need to excel in school – they also need to know the skills to excel in life. And one of the skills most critical to their success is knowing how to manage money.”
The Departments released a report that identifies different options for incorporating financial education into schools. Some of these options are including financial education in standards set by state school boards; incorporating financial concepts into material being asked on tests; urging textbook publishers to include more financial education content; incorporating financial education materials into classroom lessons; and training teachers on the importance of financial education. The report is a result of a panel discussion of youth education groups that was hosted by the two agencies in May 2002.
The Department of Education also announced a $250,000 grant to the JumpStart Coalition, a group of 140 national organizations. The grant will fund a project aimed at improving students’ knowledge about personal finance, so that they can make informed financial decisions. The project seeks to:
1. Improve student achievement on the 2004 JumpStart Personal Finance Survey
2. Increase the number of states that require personal finance education
3. increase the number of education materials being evaluated and listed in the JumpStart Clearinghouse
4. Increase the number of persons accessing the JumpStart Clearinghouse
5. Promote JumpStart’s National Standards in Personal Finance for inclusion in the standards for other disciplines, such as math, economics and business
The event also served as the official launch of the Treasury’s Office of Financial Education, which is headed up by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education Judy Chapa. The Office seeks to develop the most effective ways to better educate all Americans about practical financial skills. This knowledge is the key to Americans making informed decisions on basic saving, retirement planning, credit management and home ownership.