Residents in North Central Florida are enthusiastic about the potential consequences of a new law requiring students to take a personal finance class as part of their graduation requirements.
The bill aims to address the state’s lack of financial education and to prepare pupils for potentially harsh economic circumstances. The requirement will take effect in the 2023-24 school year for ninth grade students.
Governor Ron DeSantis recently approved legislation requiring high school seniors to take a half-credit personal finance course before graduation.
“I think I would have liked a class like this in high school,” said Putnam County resident Jenn Pearce. “When I got out of high school, there was no finance class to prepare me for the real world. Fight. I took a lot of credit card debt. I got audited once when I was 20 because I messed up something on my taxes. It was a lot of trial and error.”
According to CNBC, the bill makes Florida the 11th state to require financial education as a stand-alone course.
The new personal finance programme would be required by law to teach financial basics like balancing a chequebook, filling out loan applications, calculating interest rates, challenging inaccurate statements, and calculating federal income taxes. It also necessitates instruction on how to comprehend the many forms of investments and bank accounts available.
Duane Hayslett, 41, said he has tried to teach his two daughters, both enrolled at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, basic financial concepts.
“I went to sign a lease for my daughter, and she didn’t know much about anything as far as signing or anything like that,” Hayslett said. She said that she believes a financial education course would be helpful.
“It should be something that gives them a chance to get a sense of what to expect when they go out on their own,” Hayslett said. Scott Chapman, 40, of Cedar Key, said he’s glad his daughters, ages 8 and 11, are benefiting from the change.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic,” Chapman said. “Because for the last few years, it honestly seems to be, ‘Go rack up $150,000 in student debt, then find out and pay it off whenever, with interest. They don’t teach you about that in school.” Chapman has bought and sold companies throughout his life and has attributed his success to his extensive knowledge of financial planning. She said that while he teaches his daughters how to save, for example by letting them earn their own money walking dogs, a structured course would help them learn the basics, like what a credit score is and why it’s important.
The new personal finance class will replace one elective, changing the graduation requirement from eight elective credits to 7½. The logistics of how the law will actually take shape in the classroom will be worked out as the state provides more information on the curriculum standards, according to Jackie Johnson, director of communications for the Alachua County Public Schools district.
Mildred Russell, a member of the Alachua County School Board, said she doesn’t see any need to hire additional staff because of the many financial education programs that already exist. They include the Buchholz High Academy of Entrepreneurship, which currently offers a broad curriculum in personal finance and business development as part of its specialized program.
“It’s always a concern that 67 districts are looking for teachers who are qualified to teach financial education at exactly the same time,” he said. Johnson said the board doesn’t have many concerns about that other than making sure there are enough qualified staff to deliver these courses.
Check the latest news about business news section for best information.