New Career Curriculum Stresses Financial Literacy For Canadian 10th Graders. What About US?

New Career Curriculum Stresses Financial Literacy For Canadian 10th Graders. What About US?

financial literacy
Students act as traders for a day by building and managing a pretend $100,000 stock portfolio — part of the Magnetar Youth Investment Academy, a financial literacy program for Chicago high school students, March 1, 2014. (John Konstantaras/AP Images for Magnetar)

Tenth graders in Ontario, Canada, will need to come up with a plan to fund their first year after high school as part of an updated career studies curriculum.

They’ll be required to learn about workplace implications of social media and how to protect their online privacy.

The course will be mandatory, focusing on “monetizable skills” and STEM jobs — jobs of the future such as those in science, technology, engineering and math, according to Canadian media outlet BNN Bloomberg.

If financial literacy isn’t taught in the classroom or at home, it may not happen at all, Chicago Tribune reported.

In the U.S., nearly a third of young adults have poor financial literacy according to a recent study of 3,050 U.S. adults. The 2016 National Financial Capability Study was conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work. It analyzed and assessed the financial knowledge and practices of young adults.

The result? College-educated white males are better at planning and managing their money than others.

Only 22 percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds in the study sample were deemed to be financially stable, according to lead author Gaurav Sinha, a graduate student in social work at the University of Illinois.

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There’s an urgent need for educational programs to help young adults enter adulthood better equipped to handle their financial affairs, Sinha found.

The more financially literate people in the study tended to have checking or savings accounts in mainstream banks and were less likely to use predatory financial services such as payday lenders. They also were more likely to be white males who were employed and college-educated, according to the study.

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Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said 10th-grade students will take a deeper look at financial management. They’ll be asked to develop a budget for their first year after graduation and compare different forms of borrowing to pay for college.

They’ll also learn about the workplace implications of social media and how to protect their privacy online.

Financial literacy is the key component in a Chicago educational social enterprise that is helping Black students in underserved neighborhoods. Students are learning to build a financial foundation that leads to entrepreneurship and workplace leadership, Chicago Tribune reported.

The Academy Group provides a free program from fourth grade through college including academic support, mentoring and work experience so students can get the skills they need to create wealth for their families and communities.

“You can get kids excited about financial services, but also teach them why it’s important to actually think about managing their money right,” said Dr. Kathleen Caliento, chief learning and design officer with Academy Group. “One of our objectives is wealth creation with our young people. Because it’s not just about social justice, and it’s not just about education — money talks.”