The personal finance course should be required in the future for HC students to graduate from high school
Columbia, South Carolina (WIS) – To graduate from high school, students might have had to learn the Pythagorean theorem, memorize the three branches of government and their functions, and read a little Shakespeare.
But in the future, South Carolina students will also need to learn skills like managing credit cards and filing taxes to earn their degrees.
This next requirement to take a personal finance course follows a bipartisan multi-year push at State House to ensure that South Carolina students are financially literate and ready for life after high school.
“I think it’s very important to try to teach these kids some of these basic skills as quickly as possible, so that they get off on the right foot,” Bill Joy said.
Joy teaches a personal finance class at Lucy Beckham High School in Mount Pleasant, where students are required to take the course in their sophomore year.
His lessons cover budgeting, auditing, 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.
Soon, all high school students in South Carolina will have to learn these skills to graduate.
A law written into the current state budget directs the South Carolina Department of Education to develop regulations for the required high school course in personal finance by the end of September, to be approved by the state board of education.
“We all understand that our students need this. They need the foundation, background 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 vocational and technology education requirements.
The new personal finance requirements will not apply for the upcoming 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 Education Department will also have to work in time for professional development and teacher training for the new course.
But at least one teacher, Joey, said it was worth it.
“Everyone who lives in the state, I really think it would better prepare our kids to handle money responsibly,” Joy said.
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.
Copyright 2022 WIS. All rights reserved.
Did you notice a spelling or grammatical error in this article? Click or tap here to report it. Please include the article title.