I recently wrote about the connection among Mother’s Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, and how my mother “taught” me to become financially literate. In this post I’d like to acknowledge teachers—and the role they can play in teaching financial literacy—more directly.
Much has been made in recent years of the general population’s lack of understanding around basic financial terms and concepts. An April 23 article in USA Today highlighted some of the shortcomings among younger Americans.
The article points to the importance of teaching financial literacy to students at a younger age. Even as many school districts have struggled with funding cutbacks in so many important areas, there’s increasing recognition that we have to do a better job educating students on personal finance issues. Let’s retire stock market games, with their emphasis on whose stock has appreciated the most over a short-term period, and help students with what really matters: managing a budget, understanding credit, avoiding scams. Along these lines, I’m happy to report that Vanguard has created a program designed to teach kids about personal finance in a fun and effective way. Based on ideas in There Are No Shortcuts by California teacher Rafe Esquith, My Classroom Economy is an age-appropriate program teachers can use across all grade levels. (Oh, by the way, it’s free.)
So while it may no longer be Teacher Appreciation Week, here’s a nod to teachers with a tool that can help both them and their students in this critical area.