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The Almighty Buck Education

Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance 304

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Paula Burkes reports that under legislation passed in 2007, Oklahoma students, effective this May, now must demonstrate an understanding in banking, taxes, investing, loans, insurance, identity theft and eight other areas to graduate. The intent of personal financial literacy education is to inform students how individual choices directly influence occupational goals and future earnings potential. Basic economic concepts of scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, and cost/benefit analysis are interwoven throughout the standards and objectives. 'Oklahoma has some of the strongest standards in the country,' says Amy Lee, executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, which lobbied for and helped develop the curriculum. 'Where other states require four or five standards regarding earnings, savings and investing, Oklahoma has 14 standards including three that are state-specific: bankruptcy, the financial impact of gambling and charitable giving.' The law is designed to allow different districts to implement the curriculum in different ways, by offering instruction in various grade levels, or by teaching all the curriculum in a single class or spreading it across several courses. 'The intent of this law was always to graduate students out of high school with a strong foundation in personal financial literacy to reduce the many social ills that come from mismanaging personal finance,' says Jim Murphree. 'I cannot think of anything that we teach that is more relevant.'"
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Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realilskater ( 76030 ) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:14PM (#46328821)

    Maybe students will fully understand the ramifications of going deep in to debt to with student loans.

    • One can't win at a game unless they know the rules.
    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      and with federal expenditure.

    • Unfortunately, sex education is still off-limits. It obviously has no financial ramifications.

  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I can get behind this type of teaching. As the summary states, there is nothing more relevant to someone graduating from high school with no real experience or specific working knowledge that is not self-taught.

    It's actually unfortunate that they left it up to the districts as that means there will inevitably be multiple districts where it is planned, or taught, by someone who has no clue about it themselves.

    • Great Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:25PM (#46328949)

      Absolutely. Long overdue.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yea, I agree too.

        So where's my +5 mod?

  • by supersat ( 639745 ) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:23PM (#46328919)
    This was required in Oregon when I was in high school. I was amazed to discover it wasn't mandatory everywhere.
  • When I was six years old, I figured I was old enough to ask for an allowance.

    "Mom? Can I have an allowance?"

    "No Mike."

    "But Mom! I want to buy my own candy bars."

    "No Mike."

    I begged and pleaded for like an hour. Finally Mom agreed to twenty-five cents a week. That meant that every two weeks, I could buy my own candy bar!

    The following week I asked for my allowance. "What allowance?" Mom replied. I broke down in tears. "But Mom, you said I could have twenty-five cents a week." "No I didn't."

    She did final

    • forget about managing money.

      just learn to SUMMARIZE, dammit.

      we ain't got time for this shit, man!

    • Get one of the ceramic piggy banks that does not have a cork stopper, so you have to break it open with a hammer.

      You hold it upside down and insert a butter knife into the slot at an angle, then shake gently. Coins come out with a bit of doing, and you don't have to spend those coins on a new piggy bank.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot&worf,net> on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:01PM (#46335565)

      If you have a child yourself, you could save them - and yourself - a lot of trial and tribulation if you buy them a piggy bank at the very first opportunity. That would be when the could be trusted to handle a penny - yes a one cent piece, or your own national currency equivalent - without sticking it in their mouth and asphyxiating.

      It's called an allowance and it's considered by many financial experts to be among the best ways to teach money management to children.

      It's an excellent tool to teach savings, splitting income, spending, instant vs. delayed gratification, etc. in a really safe environment (because "bankruptcy" Is a harsh, but temporary lesson. Sadly, you learned the hard way what it was like to not grow up with those skills.

      In general I think your kids should expect that if they ask you for money/things the answer will be "no - that's what your allowance is for"

      Except that is not what their allowance is for. If they used their allowance for overpriced ice cream, they would certainly be allowed to, but they'd probably regret it; that small instantaneous bit of ice cream is not worth waiting weeks for and they'd likely decide against it.

      They've learned that they can buy an occasional candy bar without it impacting their long term goals significantly, but $5 for one Popsicle from the ice cream man, they've learned that even if they have enough money, that they cannot really 'afford' it.

      That's the point of an allowance. An allowance is a life-training tool to manage money. The kid learns that he COULD spend the hard earned savings on an ice cream, or he COULD leave it save up for that toy he really wants.

      The point is to learn these lessons in a relatively safe environment (if they blow their wad on ice cream, they don't have to worry about food, shelter, etc). And to learn the value of splitting your "income" in various bundles - a dollar to long term savings (to get the toy you want), a dollar to spend, a dollar to save for times you need more than you have or emergencies, a dollar for charity, etc. And if one forgoes spending, that can make the long term savings for the thing you really want go so much faster.

      And instant gratification versus delayed gratification is an important lesson. Ice cream now vs. now having to wait another month for the toy.

      Finally, one thing children learn way too quickly is how to be a tightwad. Sure it helps to save money, but to pinch every penny may not be the best way (price does not equal value) - spending more might be a better option. Anyone's whose dealt with a parent who insists on keeping their 10 year old junker PC going instead of buying a new one knows this. Plus, instill in them the need to actually go out and socialize with friends - sometimes the goal of saving gets in the way of life and it can lead to health and mental issues - there's absolutely nothing wrong with having fun with friends and getting together, but absolutely wrong (especially for mental health) if you're avoiding friends just to save up for something. It's why you have a "spend/fun" jar.

      I know that was one of my mistakes - putting every penny in a savings jar without putting anything in towards having fun now (you want to die alone as a rich, but miserable person?).

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:28PM (#46328971) Homepage

    step in and cry foul that schools shouldn't be teaching kids to be wise with the finances as it will upset the delicate balance of free enterprise.

    • at giving students enough information to realize just what a raw deal college is for most students.

  • It strikes me that this is Oklahoma's business, and they can do it however they want to.
  • It is unbelievable to me that this isn't somehow required, at the Federal level. WTF do we have a Department of Education for if stuff like this is missing?
    • The DOE has never been about helping students. It's always been a federal organization built to help teachers only.

      Which is why shutting it down would make a lot of sense, the communities could come up with sensible standards like teaching financial skills.

      • Excuse me, but a sweeping conclusion regarding a cabinet level department of the United States Government and you can't even get the commonly accepted abbreviation of the name right?

        Come on man. You need to do better than that to be taken seriously.

    • by The Cat ( 19816 )

      The Federal Government has no constitutional authority to set education standards. It's a state issue [].

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:36PM (#46329073)

    Hopefully this will help reduce the divorce rate.

    Divorcé's Guide to Marriage - Study Reveals Five Common Themes Underlie Most Divorces []

    Money was the No. 1 point of conflict in the majority of marriages, good or bad, that Dr. Orbuch studied. And 49% of divorced people from her study said they fought so much over money with their spouse—whether it was different spending styles, lies about spending, one person making more money and trying to control the other—that they anticipate money will be a problem in their next relationship, too.

    Many marriages today are 'til debt do us part []

    • In my experience, money becomes the flash point for problems in relationships because it is very measurable. To say it another way, the problems are there, and if money didn't exist they would still be there (ie, lack of trust, trying to control each other, feeling unappreciated, lies, different interests). The problems appear with money because the easy measurement reveals things that would be not quite as obvious.
  • The intent of personal financial literacy education is to inform students how individual choices directly influence occupational goals and future earnings potential. Basic economic concepts of scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, and cost/benefit analysis are interwoven throughout the standards and objectives.

    It's a shame that there's no way to force those concepts into the heads of the students who drop out. I suppose you can only help the ones who will be helped; the rest will spend their lives complaining that they're not being helped enough.

  • Shorter words (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sl3xd ( 111641 ) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:37PM (#46329089) Journal

    Oklahoma's teachers had better use shorter words in their curriculum than their lobbyists used for the press.

    Though I also think high schoolers should be required to work a minimum wage job before graduation, for at least a few months. That way, instead of abstract concepts, they know "it feels like this to earn $100.00."

  • I cannot think of anything that we teach that is more relevant

    Of course you can. The ability to communicate, math, the ability to think for yourself... All relevant to students in general - and in many cases pre-requisites for a lot of the personal finance curriculum. That being said, glad to see this is being taught - it's a great addition!

    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      I believe personal finance to be an integral part of the ability to think for yourself. For example, there's a huge problem with people who don't understand economics at all, but want to make all sorts of society impacting rules and policies. Personal finances actually provides a means by which people can understand the mechanics of a society and government.
  • This scares me. We have to realize that textbooks and curriculum are not guaranteed to be written by truly objective and qualified academics, and that not all teachers are qualified to teach personal finance. With those things in mind, do we want our public schools teaching personal finance?

    Look at those states fighting evolution, look at those states fighting climate change. Think of all the times in high school that it was obvious the teacher had no real knowledge of the subject matter and was just rea
    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      What's the point of having public schools? Might as well get them to teach something useful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tapi0 ( 2805569 )
      Following your argument (that teachers generally aren't able to teach, if I read correctly) to the obvious extreme, why don't we just do away with schools completely as they're obviously pointless. Really?
      • Well one thing they should be teaching is that the slippery slope argument is a fallacy.

        I think this is a bad idea because there is a really good chance you aren't getting a teacher who is an expert in personal finance. My math teachers studied mathematics. I had a biology teacher who had a PHD. My literature teachers were english/lit majors. How many personal finance majors are currently teaching in public schools? What kind of nationally accredited programs exist to prepare college students to be perso
        • "What kind of nationally accredited programs exist to prepare college students to be personal finance teachers?"
          The same programs that accredit other public school teachers. Home economics has been a named field of study for over a century. If Oklahoma somehow managed to lose all their knowledge about it other states haven't.


    • Look at those states fighting evolution, look at those states fighting climate change. Think of all the times in high school that it was obvious the teacher had no real knowledge of the subject matter and was just reading out of a book and relying on pre-prepared material.

      Who's fighting evolution? How?
      I thought you WANTED people to fight slimate change. Now you're all for it? Make up your mind!
      And what the fuck does "pre-prepared" mean? Does it perhaps mean "prepared"?

      • Well what I mean by "fighting evolution" is those states that are fighting to remove evolution from biology classes.

        Pre-prepared refers to slides, homework assignments, and tests pre-prepared by the textbook companies to remove any need for the teacher to actually teach. It is in contrast to the old fashioned method of a teacher preparing their own lesson plans, homework assignments, and tests.
        • those states that are fighting to remove evolution from biology classes.

          They aren't doing that. What they're doing is more insidious.

          Most of these states are trying to give cover to teachers so they can go off-topic on religious matters and preach creationism, or allow students to opt-out of science lessons involving evolution. All of them are attempting to "teach the controversy" and mandate that unscientific quackery like "intelligent design" get equal time with evolution, to put it on equal footing it do

  • I'm sure someone will stand up shortly and complain that this is somehow racist, sexist, or otherwise deleterious to the well-being of the pupils being schooled. Can't have kids learning about how money is made, handled, taxed, and invested. That would interfere with them being good little minions who simply do what they're told by their betters...i.e. those in government power.

  • Amen (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Its about time. I don't recall this being mandatory when I was in school back in the 80's, though I took a basic accounting class as an elective, it was not required. Most of the folks I know who are my age (mid 40's) have at least a basic understanding of these concepts, though the high level of credit card debt shows we're not immune to idiocy.

    But I recently had to bang my head against a desk and wonder WTF is wrong with the next generation when a 20 something I know and am "friends" with on Facebook post

    • According to him, he should still have $200 and is pissed that his bank screwed him because he now has only $170...... no one ever explained to him that a debit card purchase clears the bank within hours, a day at most while the check he deposited might take up to 3 days to clear and he had overdrafted and been fined $30. Again, none of his contemporaries posted that he was an idiot, the overwhelming number of posts were about how banks screw them all the time saying that they did not have enough money in the bank when they just deposited a check...

      To be fair, that's a legitimate complaint. There's no justifiable reason for that delay nor is there one for not giving a grace period until the end of it before finalizing the overdraft fee. The only reason that historical processing delay is still there is to screw customers out of a fee that wouldn't happen if they put as much emphasis on processing deposits as they did on withdrawals. There's no technical justification for such a difference between the two nor for the lack of forgiveness.

      He may be ig

  • I like this. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I took a Macroeconomic and a Microeconomic course in College and having even a basic understanding of Supply&Demand and Opportunity cost has helped me immensely in life, to better understand the motivation of how anything works.

  • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Monday February 24, 2014 @08:18PM (#46329517)

    We used to have civics classes back when I was in school. We learned about the Federal, State, County and City governments, their structure, how you can interact with government, etc. Too many people are so clueless about how it all works they shouldn't even be allowed to vote (although most of them probably don't).

    • Oh, they still have civics classes. Took one in high school. Basically, you're taught "this is how the government works, this is how it has always worked, and it always works correctly, and it's the best government in the world." Critiques from students such as "well, here's a real world example that shows it doesn't work that way" or "well, that doesn't strike me as best, particularly in a place that bills itself as the land of the free" are met with hostility because it disrupts the all-important curri
  • I saw "Oklahoma" and "required to teach". I thought it was going to be intelligent design.
  • Finance weight has become so important that it has be taught in school.

    I cannot wait for other constraints to become so important that instead of managing them, society decide to train children to cope with them: find a cave to sleep, make fire, spare attacks from wild animals, manage a raid from rival tribe...

Man will never fly. Space travel is merely a dream. All aspirin is alike.