Letters to the Editor

Florida wise to require economics class in public education

A financially savvy population will make smarter decisions and will in turn build wealth, generate taxable revenues, and create a stable economy. Legislation recently introduced in both Florida's Senate and House aims to ensure that Florida's students are capable of making sound financial choices.

Since the start of the recession in 2007, there has been a 36 percent drop in median household wealth. (Wealth is the value of everything you own minus your debts.) To compound matters, since 2007 college tuitions have soared and student loan debt has doubled. Debt makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to get new loans, create or expand businesses and hire new employees.

A 2014 study conducted by The Council for Economic Education reports that students, in states requiring a financial literacy course, were more likely to save and pay off credit cards, and less likely to be compulsive buyers. Yet, only six states require instruction in financial literacy as a prerequisite for high school graduation.

In 2013, Gov. Scott signed legislation requiring students entering grade nine in the 2014 school year to take a one-semester course in economics with financial literacy. Some Florida lawmakers want to go a step further.

Recent legislation introduced by Sen. Hukill and Rep. Fitzenhagen (SB 92 and HB 29) would require Florida students to take a one-semester course on personal finance and money management. "Florida's students continue to graduate from high school unprepared to make wise financial decisions and we're seeing that play out across Florida in the form of historic levels of personal debt that are impacting their future," said Rep. Fitzenhagen. "We owe it to our next generation to teach them the skills necessary to avoid crushing debt, bankruptcy and other serious financial issues."

Both the Senate and House bills have been referred to K-12 appropriations subcommittees.

Maureen Magner, Magner Tutoring Lakewood Ranch