Leaders pushing to teach all students how to budget money, balance a checkbook in high school

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A business academy in New Haven is ahead of the curve.

Students are learning to use a calculator, write out a bank check, and balance a budget.

The Jumpstart Program, which teams up schools and professional financial advisors, is exactly the kind of class State Senator Doug McCrory wants children enrolled in.

He admittedly learned a little too late about financial literacy when he got a credit card after college, “after three weeks my credit limit was done.”

Senator McCrory also taught middle school math in Hartford for 15 years. He knows some students are not savvy about money.

As chair of the education committee, he wants to push for a pilot program on financial literacy in this next legislative session.

Senator McCrory said a study done by Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy shows “that for those students who have a financial literacy course, their credit scores are much better, financially they are doing much better. It’s time for Connecticut to start getting 21st-century skill sets in our schools.”

Some districts around the state offer financial literacy courses but not all of them do. The senator said alliance districts and those in urban areas don’t have the resources to offer the opportunity.

In Wethersfield, there is a personal finance course offered at the high school as an elective. The Superintendent of Schools, Michael Emmett told News 8 the course is popular with both students and parents.

“We see the course as offering real-word, practical content that students will benefit from regardless of their post-secondary plans.”

McCrory said only 17 states around the country currently require a personal finance course to graduate high school.

He won’t push for a graduation requirement, instead, he believes lawmakers will agree this can be legislated as a mandated course, offering it in middle schools at first.

“Introducing it into the curriculum at an early age so that by the time they get to high school they will be ready for it,” he said. “They will know what credit is, they will know what interest rate is.”

McCrory believes the investment in our kids will pay off in the long run.

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