“I can graph a polynomial function, but I don’t know how to write a check or pay a credit card bill!”
Almost all high schoolers have said something along these lines, lamenting the fact that the standards for education do not include provisions to mold them into economically sound individuals.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 50.3 percent of high school students ages 16 and older work between 11 and 20 hours a week, anywhere from 27-49 weeks per year.
Among such teens, it is not common to have a solid baseline understanding of how to manage money responsibly, creating an entire generation set up for failure as it moves into adulthood.
Mill Creek High School, and other Gwinnett County high schools, have implemented programs and classes to help students learn basic finance skills to apply at current jobs and as they move into the workforce as adults.
“The things that stuck out in my mind the most were the zero-based budgeting techniques and everything we learned about the stock market,” Mill Creek senior Alyssa Casole said.
The class at Mill Creek in the 2014-15 school year used curriculum from Dave Ramsey, a well-known financial adviser and talk-show host.
Students learned how to budget for upcoming expenses and save for the future.
Hall County Director of Middle and Secondary Education Kevin Bales said “it does not look like we are offering any personal finance here in Hall County.”
“The closest we just have a course offering of mathematics of finance, and that was a small segment of students at one of our high schools,” he added.
Hall students who learned of the class offered at Mill Creek were amazed at the idea of being taught how to handle money in school.
“A class on financial assistance would be amazing!” Flowery Branch junior Stephen Thomas said.
“Personally, one of my biggest fears are finances and all the taxes that come with exiting high school…”
Thomas has worked in a variety of places, most recently the docks at LanierWorld.
He has had to learn how to manage his money in the best way possible. Thomas knows a class through school would have prepared him to be better equipped in making financial decisions now and down the road through college.
Even students who have not yet entered the workforce can see the benefit such a class would bring.
“This would help me in the future so I can be more independent and not get into any financial or legal trouble,” Morgan Wadsworth, a junior at Flowery Branch, said.
“Students are taught how to … analyze a poem, but not how to handle taxes, which is a very serious thing.”