Montgomery Co. schools inching closer to making financial literacy a graduation requirement

Maryland’s largest school system is a step closer to making financial literacy a graduation requirement, voting this week to direct the superintendent to create an implementation plan.

Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Monifa McKnight will craft the plan that would institute the requirement beginning in the 2024-25 school year, or for the graduating class of 2028. The Board of Education will then vote on whether to move forward with that plan, which would officially determine whether a finance course would become a graduation requirement.

It is not yet clear what specifically would be taught in the course.

The school system discussed the possibility of making a half-credit financial literacy course a requirement to graduate from high school late last month. It currently offers a personal finance course as an elective, and if the requirement moves forward, the county would offer things such as financial mathematics and online courses that would fulfill the requirement.

Prince George’s County Public Schools has a similar requirement, as does Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia’s largest school system.

“There’s a lot of interest in our community to have our students complete our school system with knowledge about financial literacy, so that they can be ready for the real world,” Board President Karla Silvestre said. “I recognize that adding a new graduation requirement is a hardship, because we have so many graduation requirements and more in the horizon as the blueprint rolls out.”

Board member Brenda Wolff shared that sentiment “because too many of our Black and brown students aren’t meeting the current requirements to get out on time. And we’re just heaping more and more barriers upon their graduation,” she said.

Wolff said the additional time will be valuable, because it’s not known with certainty “what the state is going to require under the blueprint as requirements for graduation.”

A vote on the plan to implement the requirement could come next spring.

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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.

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