Montgomery Co. students speak in favor of proposed financial literacy requirement

Students representing multiple schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, spoke in favor of adding a financial literacy course requirement at a school board meeting this week.

The course option, which student School Board member Hana O’Looney proposed earlier this month, calls for the county’s interim superintendent to consider creating a half-credit financial literacy course that would teach students how to budget, invest, spend and borrow.

If the proposal gets approved, the requirement would be implemented at high schools in the 2023-24 school year.

Angelina Xu, a sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School, urged the board to approve the resolution because “our math classes don’t tell us how to build our credit scores.”

Xu said a friend recently told her that she had to fill out her financial aid application alone because her family members didn’t understand it.

“It may be shocking, but what I’ve learned is that my friend’s experience is not abnormal,” Xu said. “In fact, it’s the story of every student I’ve talked to.”

Ruhama Endishaw, a junior at Springbrook High School, said concepts such as budgeting have been on her mind regularly as someone who immigrated to the U.S.

“For years, I remember coming home to my parents and translating important financial forms and documents, without any idea what I was reading,” Endishaw said.

O’Looney said the student turnout was inspiring.

“Our students are starting their own clubs and initiatives to educate their peers and even educate their own family members on how to manage their personal finances,” O’Looney said.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposal at its Nov. 9 meeting.

Five high schools in the county offer financial literacy courses as electives.

Charles County requires students to take a financial literacy course to graduate, and the Prince George’s County school board passed a resolution adding a course to its future graduation requirements last year.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up