Students to Be Taught the Risks of Debt
Lawmakers in North Carolina passed on a bill that will require high schoolers to complete a personal finance course as part of their graduation requirements. The goal is to better prepare students for the many financial decisions they will be making in the immediate future.
While some teachers excitedly support this decision, not all are on board with a mandatory class teaching fiscal responsibility. Here’s what you need to know about this controversial educational choice in North Carolina schools.
Practical Finance Skills for High School Students
After graduation, many students face decisions about taking out student loans, with the average college graduate having $37,172 in debt. Major decisions about borrowing are being made day-in and day-out by individuals who have no formal education or experience in personal finance.
This North Carolina course is meant to better prepare students to responsibly manage their money after graduation, and all freshman would be required to enroll. The main focus of the course, according to the bill, would be debt. Topics like student loan debt, credit cards, mortgages and car loans would be included.
A movement to change the wording of the bill was shot down. The hope was to amend the course description to require teachers to also educate on the wealth gap, including how it grows and the ways federal and state laws affect the financial health of individuals.
While teaching fiscal responsibility to students may seem like a common sense choice, there are teachers who vocally oppose this educational move. Arguments address that students are already being taught some personal finance in a required civics course. Adding this course to high school requirements could also mean sacrificing additional history classes.
Additionally, teachers are concerned about the content of the class. According to The Herald Sun, some educators feel that the proposed curriculum places too much blame on individuals for financial struggle. Because the course will fail to address institutional weaknesses, like low wages and unaffordable healthcare, it’s said to paint an incomplete picture of what it’s like managing a budget in the United States.
Despite the criticism, much of the information taught in this class covers personal finance choices previous generations made through trial and error. No matter the current financial climate in the United States, the opportunity to be better equipped to wisely navigate taking out student loans or applying for first credit cards is an opportunity that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
~ Here’s to Your Financial Health!