Alayna Van Tassel: Financial literacy is crucial throughout the year, not just in April

AP PHOTO/STEVEN SENNE

AP PHOTO/STEVEN SENNE AP PHOTO/STEVEN SENNE

Published: 04-08-2024 6:05 PM

National Financial Literacy month is recognized in April, but personal financial literacy (PFL) education should have a place in Massachusetts schools throughout the year. When thinking about building a more equitable future for our children, requiring that schools offer PFL is a crucial step towards achieving economic stability and security throughout their lives. It is about closing the gaps that exist in our schools between those who have access to financial knowledge and resources, and those who do not.

We want to give every student, regardless of their background, race, or income level, an equal opportunity to thrive and prosper. Currently, there are 25 states that guarantee this type of education. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is not one of them. In fact, in the Champlain College 2023 National Report Card on High School financial literacy, our state was one of just five states with an “F” grade. This means that we have virtually no requirements for PFL in high school. Research could not be any clearer: students who receive this education are more likely to save, budget, invest, and increase their credit scores. The longer we wait to implement, the longer it will be until our state’s young people see the benefits.

Massachusetts has always been a leader in education, innovation, and social progress. But when it comes to financial education, we are woefully behind. This should be unacceptable and needs to be changed.

Alayna Van Tassel, executive director

Office of Economic Empowerment Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General

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