Are you financially literate? New graduation requirement headed to Lamont’s desk

The legislation adds a half-credit personal financial management credit to high school graduation requirements.

May 31, 2023, 9:24 PM

Updated 324 days ago

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How much do you know about personal finance? Soon it will be a graduation requirement in Connecticut – thanks to a bill headed to Gov. Ned Lamont's desk.
The legislation received final approval Tuesday evening. It adds a half-credit personal financial management credit to high school graduation requirements, starting with this fall’s incoming Class of 2027. Topics could include budgeting, credit cards, taxes and basic investing.
Many students said they know little about managing their own finances.
“Not a lot because we didn't have to take anything this year. So really, nothing,” said Brendan McGovern, a freshman at Brien McMahon High in Norwalk. “It's a good idea. I mean, it can set people up -- help them, like, if you're building credit, stuff like that.”
The state Department of Education says 91 school systems already offer personal finance classes – including Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport. Even more districts roll it into math and accounting classes. SDE has already developed a model curriculum for districts to use.
“It's good for people to learn about how to invest and stuff, like checking – especially with the credit card,” said Norwalk High junior Alexis Recinos.
So could you pass a personal finance class? We asked some adults.
Reporter: “What is a Roth IRA?” Olivia Adams (Norwalk): “Pass.”
Scott McMurdo (Norwalk): “So we're not from here, I should say. But I believe a Roth IRA is basically what you can contribute with your employer.”
Reporter: “What is a mutual fund?” Emily Griggs (Norwalk): “Gosh! Um, I don't know.”
Reporter: “What does APR stand for?” Tracy Craighead (South Salem, NY): “APR.” Reporter: “You see it in the car ads all the time.” Craighead: “I know … Uh, something. I don't know!”
Lawmakers have tried to pass a financial literacy requirement for almost a decade. The mandate should have a minimal cost for schools, unless they opt to hire a new teacher, according to a nonpartisan fiscal analysis. Districts could also save money because the bill eliminates a one-credit mastery-based diploma assessment as a graduation requirement.


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