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Mandatory Financial Literacy Courses for High Schoolers One Step Closer to Becoming Law

April 3rd, 2017 by Jake Stofan

A bill that would require high school students in the state take a financial literacy course to graduate is one step closer to becoming law after passing through a house subcommittee this afternoon.

It’s not uncommon for students to leave high school with an understanding of subjects like cell division while at the same time lacking personal finance skills. 

House Bill 955 seeks to change that.

The legislation would require all high school students to take a half credit course specifically focusing on financial topics like paying taxes, interest, and balancing a checkbook.

Supporters say 17 other sates have already implemented similar requirements.

“These states now know that students who go through a required course actually have different behaviors,” said Mark Anderson with the Florida Council on Economic Education.

Dr. Joseph Calhoun, an associate professor at FSU and Avid supporter of the bill says he’s been consistently surprised at the lack of knowledge his incoming students have.

“To my amazement only half the students could give me a detailed explanation about the difference between a stock and a bond,” said Dr. Calhoun.

Some schools do offer similar courses as options to students, High School Junior, Tabitha Schlader is taking one such class next semester.

““I’m actually lucky. My dad is really good in that kind of field and work so either way whether I take it or not I would have learned, but I do think it is beneficial because some people don’t have that resource,” said Schlader.

By making the credit a requirement for graduation supporters hope no students will be left behind.

“If they don’t know how to leave high school, head off to college and understand how to survive in the world, we would have done them a tremendous disservice,” said bill sponsor, Representative Heather Fitzenhagen.

The bill has to pass through one more committee before being brought to the House floor.

If passed courses could begin as early as Fall of 2017.

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