This week the Board of Education for Prince George’s County, Maryland, passed a resolution adding a course in financial literacy to graduation requirements.
The vote came Wednesday after several meetings where students urged board members to add the requirement so all graduating seniors leave high school with an understanding of how to responsibly manage their finances.
Maryland Association of Student Councils President Bryce Awono, who is a Prince George’s County student, told board members that, “the notion that in Prince George’s County we are delaying financial literacy to the students that need it is ridiculous.”
Other students told board members that while they could tackle complex academic subjects, they didn’t know how to balance a checkbook, pay taxes or how credit works.
They told the board ensuring students know how to do those things before graduating is critical.
Edward Burroughs, the Board of Education vice chair who has pushed the requirement to no avail for nearly a decade, said the student voices proved persuasive.
“I mean we had students come and talk about their parents’ own financial struggles,” said Burroughs. “The testimony from those students, I think, made all the difference.”
The requirement will be implemented for freshmen in the 2023-24 school year, Burroughs said.
Burroughs said providing students in the county with a solid foundation in personal finance is important, because many come from families facing financial difficulties.
And, Burroughs said, with the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the economy, it’s likely students will need to understand how to navigate a financial recovery as well.