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Teachers' group neutral on new financial literacy class requirement, cites Michigan's teacher shortage

Posted at 8:31 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 20:31:01-04

LANSING, Mich. — Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed new legislation that will require high schools across the state to teach financial literacy. The bipartisan bill is a first for the state, but teachers’ groups wonder just who will be teaching these classes.

“What we teach are basics— so, goal setting, a savings goal for the year, savings versus spending, what's debit versus credits, how to budget and creating a budget," said Deidre Davis, the chief marketing officer for MSU Federal Credit Union in Lansing.

The local credit union already partners with the Lansing School District to provide some financial education.

“Financial literacy is a basic building block for one's future. It's really paramount to that success in the future," Davis said. "They're able to make better decisions with their money and go forward on a path and a life path that is going to be undoubtedly most beneficial to them.”

Across the country, only seven states require financial literacy courses for students, according to Forbes.

The legislation Gov. Whitmer signed last week brings the list up to eight states. While teachers’ groups agree that financial literacy is important, Thomas Morgan, a spokesman for the Michigan Education Association, asked who’s going to teach these classes?

“We certainly support financial literacy, especially as we move into an age of cryptocurrency and NFTs and a whole new world," he said. "And meanwhile, Michigan is in the middle of an educator shortage that's reached a crisis, really. And so we need to make sure that policymakers are coming together and working to solve the educator shortage or else there won't be anyone around to teach things like financial literacy.”

For Gov. Whitmer, the legislation is a critical step towards improving financial literacy.

“[The] bill will bolster the state’s education curriculum and I look forward to signing another balanced budget so we can build on our bipartisan education investments,” she said in a statement.

The new requirement would start with ninth grade classes in 2024.

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Elle Meyers

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