Financial literacy may be more important than ever in a complicated world. Skills such as budgeting, investing and learning how to balance a checkbook are just a few aspects of personal finance about which far too many people know far too little.
South Carolina schools have a standard for teaching finance, with a legislative mandate that “financial literacy instruction shall be incorporated within current courses throughout the state.”
South Carolina is adding new standards to make personal finance more prominent in the education process, but still more can be done. Motivating teachers is a sound strategy.
State Treasurer Curtis Loftis is taking an important step in that direction with the new South Carolina Financial Literacy Master Teacher Program, a statewide initiative that aims to energize more teachers about the importance of incorporating personal finance education into their classrooms.
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Sponsored by Future Scholar, South Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan, and in partnership with SC Economics, the South Carolina Financial Literacy Master Teacher Program provides financial incentives to K-12 teachers who are experts in the area of financial literacy and have a desire to teach professional development workshops to other educators in their schools and districts. Through the program participating teachers get access to specialized training and financial literacy curriculum resources that will better enable them to promote financial literacy education in K-12 schools.
“You cannot underestimate the importance of financial literacy. It is an essential tool for personal financial wellness, and it impacts so many facets of our everyday life,” Loftis said. “We want to channel the enthusiasm and passion of our best and brightest educators and train even more teachers on how they can effectively incorporate personal finance education into their classrooms.”
“I am elated to participate in a program that systematically accomplishes something I have been doing for the past five years – championing financial education for all students, incorporating personal finance concepts into my classroom curriculum, and teaching colleagues ways they can introduce financial literacy into their existing classes,” said Dr. Ashley Bowers, a teacher at Ashley Ridge High School in Summerville and a member of the program’s inaugural class.
“SC Economics is very successful in providing quality training, curriculum and resources for our K-12 teachers across the state, and we have enjoyed partnering with them for a number of years,” Loftis said. “Our ultimate goal is educate and empower our K-12 students with the knowledge and skills needed to make sound financial decisions throughout their lives.”
A knowledge of personal finance won’t necessarily turn today’s students into the financial wizards of tomorrow, but it can help them greatly in day-to-day life with the vital task of managing money. Teachers must play the vital role of imparting that knowledge.
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