A future personal finance course will be required to graduate from high school in South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina (WIS/Grey News) – Students in South Carolina in the future will be required to learn skills such as managing credit cards and filing taxes to earn their degrees.
“I think it’s very important to try to teach some of these basic skills to these kids as quickly as possible, so that they get off on the right foot,” Bill Joy, a personal finance teacher, told WIS.
Joy teaches the course to second-year students, covering modules on budgeting, checking, savings, and more.
“We actually teach kids how to prepare taxes, and in fact, some of these kids have gone on to prepare taxes for their parents. So these are the kind of life skills that I think are really valuable,” Joy said.
A law written into the current state budget directs the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) to develop regulations for the required high school course in personal finance by the end of September, which will then be approved by the state board of education.
“We all understand that our students need this. They need the foundation, basic knowledge, blueprint and financial literacy, rather than being discovered when it’s too late,” said David Mattis, SCDE’s Deputy Superintendent of College and Career Readiness.
These regulations include how the half-credit requirement fits into the 24 credit hours required for graduation and which graduate class will be the first to pass the course to earn their diplomas.
Mattis said they want to be able to offer students different options for completing this requirement, which could include taking the course by default, elective, or as part of career and technology education requirements.
The new personal finance requirements will not apply for the next academic year, with Mattis saying it could only take about a year to develop course standards.
“Once that is done, we have to build the coursework around that. We have to secure materials and resources that counties can choose from,” Mattis said.
The Department of Education will also have to work in time for professional development and teacher training for the new course.
Personal finance is a course required for high school graduation in more than a dozen states, including most states in the Southeast.
Among its neighbors, North Carolina already has a personal finance requirement, while Georgia just passed a law this year that adds it.
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