Financial literacy legislation sponsored by State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) has been signed into law.
Under DiZoglio’s bill, An Act relative to financial literacy programs in schools, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is directed to develop standards and objectives on personal financial literacy, for grades pre-kindergarten to 12, within the existing mathematics curriculum. The curriculum will include understanding loans, borrowing money, interest, credit card debt, and online commerce; as well as banking, housing, retirement and taxes.
DiZoglio was inspired to draft the legislation after reading a study by the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College in Vermont, which gave Massachusetts an ‘F’ grade for the quality of its financial literacy programs. Along with Massachusetts, the study assigned its lowest rating to 10 other states that have “few requirements, or none at all, for personal finance education in high school.”
“I am so pleased to see the Commonwealth adopt this legislation to include financial literacy in our public school math curricula, as many students are graduating without a full understanding of how to manage a personal budget,” said DiZoglio. “As a nation, our failure to teach the importance of financial literacy has led to the exploitation of millions of people and triggered a financial crisis a decade ago that we have only recently recovered from as a nation.”
DiZoglio added that “the importance of understanding how debt, interest and credit affect one’s financial health cannot be overstated.”
The bill signed into law this week will ensure that public schools statewide will teach students the importance of properly managing money and will help inform them of their best options for paying for college, buying a car and someday purchasing a home.
The financial literacy education bill comes on the heels of the passage of another bill expanding civics education curriculum in the Commonwealth.
DiZoglio said the new financial literacy bill, coupled with the civics education law, will lead to important improvements in Massachusetts public schools.
“These new laws will ensure students learn real world skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives and make them more engaged, responsible citizens in our state,” said DiZoglio. “The Merrimack Valley delegation is united in seeking the very best education for our children, because engaging and educating the children of today ensures that they grow up to become the responsible, conscientious leaders of tomorrow.”