SHOULD FINANCIAL LITERACY IN FLORIDA BE A LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY?

When the financial collapse happened following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15, 2008, the American public was deluged with new terms like mortgage-backed securities, subprime loans and credit default swaps. The financial crisis and recession also exposed behaviors that indicated low levels of financial literacy across the nation.

Many people purchased homes they could not afford using unsound financial products they did not understand. As a result, mortgage defaults, foreclosure rates, personal credit defaults and bankruptcy rates reached near record highs.

Such negative financial outcomes and low levels of consumer knowledge and confidence have made it crystal clear that only through financial literacy will people enjoy positive outcomes associated with wealth accumulation, stock market participation, retirement planning, and avoiding high-cost alternative financial services like payday lending and auto title loans. 

Naturally, we look to our teachers to help solve this problem. To avoid another financial crisis in the future and to improve personal finance outcomes for American citizens, our nation must be educated in personal finance. A suggested place to start is with our K-12 students.

“There is no better way that we can spend our state education money then guaranteeing our students will not only make money in the future but will know how to manage that money,” said Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, a co-sponsor of a bill that would require students to complete a one-semester financial literacy course beginning with next year’s high school freshmen.

Looking ahead, the challenges for Broward schools are many: The district must transition to a statewide curriculum known as Common Core; aging school buildings are struggling with leaky roofs and other urgent repair needs; and enrollment at district schools continues to drop as students flock to competing charter schools.  Broward’s school district Superintendent Robert Runcie said “It’s a life calling to work and leave a legacy for our children, that they’re prepared for the next century,” But given all of the issues he must contend with, how will the Superintendent respond to this new potential state mandate?


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

7:30 am: Coffee & Networking
7:45-8:45 am: Presentation/Discussion

FAU/BCC Higher Education Complex, 111 E. Las Olas, Room 1208 

Parking available in the City Garage

RSVP to ftlauderdaleforum@gmail.com

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