Florida lawmakers unanimously approved a personal finance education bill
Nine-year-old student Roberto Neves Fernandez studies personal finance topics on his laptop using the SmartPath online resource center.
Florida is preparing to become the largest state to make a financial literacy course mandatory for high school graduation.
The Florida Senate on Friday unanimously approved Resolution SB 1054 and sent it to the state House of Representatives, which also passed it without any opposition on Tuesday. The measure was sponsored by Senator Travis Hutson and Representative Demi Busata Cabrera, both Republicans. It also had bipartisan support from 35 participating sponsors.
The bill will be sent to Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signature.
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“It is critical that we prepare Florida students for financial success, and this legislation will ensure that vital financial literacy resources are available to students prior to graduation,” Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, said in a statement Tuesday. “Financial knowledge is an important key to a strong financial future, and learning the basics of credit, budgeting, saving, and investing can prepare students for a successful future.”
Personal finance classes are on the rise
When the bill is signed into law, Florida will become by far the largest state that mandates at least one semester of personal finance education, according to Next Gen Personal Finance, a nonprofit. The legislation will require students entering grade 9 in the 2023-2024 school year to take a half-credit course in personal finance or money management before graduation.
“The success of this financial education bill will have a ripple effect on other states, especially because it passed unanimously in both the Senate and House showing that it really is a bipartisan issue,” said Yanelli Espinal, director of educational outreach at Next Gen Personal Finance. . in a letter. “Everyone agrees that our students need and deserve financial skills relevant to the 21st century.”
Currently, there are 54 personal finance education bills outstanding in 26 states, according to the Next Gen Personal Finance bill tracker. At least seven states, now likely including Florida, require students to take a self-contained personal finance course for graduation, which the nonprofit considers the gold standard for this education.
More than 20 other states include some type of personal finance education in their curriculum in various ways. Others have different proposals as well. For example, a proposed bill in Arizona states that a personal finance course can meet the requirements for a math course, according to Next Gen Personal Finance. Another Tennessee bill mandating personal finance courses for middle school students. Tennessee is one of seven states that actually guarantee personal finance courses for high school students.
The activity shows that countries understand the importance of personal financial education for their students. While the coronavirus pandemic has upended such education across the country, it has also highlighted the importance of teaching strong financial habits.
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