Teaching Personal Finance–Testimonials from Educators!

As an educator, why do you think teaching personal finance is important?

“When students return after graduating and say, ‘Mrs. Cresimore! Everything you taught us happens in the real world!’ That is why Personal Finance is so important!” ~ Jennifer Cresimore, East Forsyth High School

“Teaching personal finance is the most important skill our students need to master for our nation’s future yet it is among the most neglected fields of study. W!SE’s Financial Literacy Certification Program is transformative for my senior year high school students, as it gives them the tools they will need to survive and thrive throughout college and their adult lives.” ~Joseph Brogan, Talent Unlimited High School

“Teaching personal finance to high school students is important because once they are on their own, they will have the background to help them make right financial decisions.” Warren Kaufman, Hillcrest High School

“One of my proudest moments in teaching financial literacy came when I was standing in line at the Post Office. The parent of a student, whom I taught the previous semester, came up to me and thanked me for teaching important life skills to her son. As a single mother, she was particularly pleased that he started to take notice of how much it took for her to keep the family running smoothly; from paying the bills to buying groceries and providing for the household. She said he was constantly talking about not wanting a credit card, and wanting to avoid getting himself into debt. It’s nice to know that what we do makes a difference in the present and in the future for our students.” ~Robin Cornell, Jamestown High School

“With so many current events dealing with personal finance over the past few days, months, and years, it is absolutely the best time to teach one of the most necessary subjects to students–personal finance. From the crisis in Cyprus–to bank websites being hacked–to the sequester–students can now see on a larger scale the necessity to understanding personal finance.” ~Sean Jacobson, Michael J. Petrides School

“Last year a student at Cardinal Spellman that took Personal Finance & Marketing and earned a 85% on the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Test, he started to distribute special T-shirts to seniors. This year as a college freshman, he has a line of T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats on an online webpage. His gross revenue from July 2012-February 2013 is >$55k. He credits the Personal Finance & Marketing class at Spellman for his success.” ~John Schoenberg, Cardinal Spellman High School

“Today’s youth are struggling and in debt. Teaching financial literacy will show them how to distinguish between their needs and wants, and the purpose of money. This will enable them to make the right financial decisions that will change their lives.” ~Edward Alvarez, Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical High School

“I think Finance is the most important thing that can be taught in a school day. I am currently teaching my seniors a 1/2 year of personal finance and I am schocked at what they do not know. I gave them the W!SE Financial Pre-test and I am sure they will do much better on the test at the end of the semester. I am so happy that you provide us with lessons and topics that are so important for students to know before they venture out into the real world.” ~Kathy Williams, Southold High School

“I have been teaching the Working in Support of Education (W!SE) program as a part of Personal and Family Finance class at MagnetCoveHigh School for several years now.  I decided to teach this class because of the lack of knowledge indicated to me by students from teaching financial units in other classes.  Many of them could not separate income from social insurance like social security and disability recipients.  Most students had no idea how much it cost to purchase vehicles, homes or all the other costs and responsibilities that comes with them.  They did not understand how investing works and why it is so important to save for emergencies. Although my success rate on the W!SE certification is only about fifty percent, I know that every piece of information students do retain will help them be financially successful in the future.  I have found that many parents do not share financial information related to running a household, so I have used my own personal financial budget to help them understand all the cost and how to plan for them.  We play a lot of games where they have budgets based on their level of education in a theoretical future and it helps them see what kind of lifestyle they can have or not.  I usually throw in some type of family crisis and see how they deal with it.  We talk about their choices and how it will affect them in the long run. I am thankful to have such a program to guide me in teaching the curriculum to the best of my ability and the support of the program team.  You have always been there to answer questions, provide feedback and keep the information innovative. Thank you.” ~Patsy Whiddon, Magnet Cove High School

“I think it is particularly important to teach financial literacy to high school students who are about to enter the work force or college because they need to know the basics of money management.  They will face financial challenges and decisions that most have never been exposed to and now they will largely be autonomous to act.  Their decisions can have beneficial or costly consequences.  Students have to make decisions about loans, credit cards, and budgeting and need to be empowered with the tools to manage their finances well and plan for the future.  Financial literacy is a necessary component of good citizenship in an increasingly global economy.” ~Franco Scardino, Townsend Harris High School

“Teaching personal finance is so important to teach to high school students for so many reasons. I always point out to my students that if they don’t learn now about managing money they will have to ‘live and learn’ in the adult world by paying high fees for their mistakes. Some families don’t discuss finances at home so sometimes a high school finance class is the only place students gain this valuable knowledge. A former student of mine from a few years ago stopped in after school one day to ask me about the terms of a new credit card she just signed up for. She said she talked to an employee at her bank, but felt overwhelmed. She felt better coming in to talk to me about it just to clarify all the terms and conditions because she didn’t want to mess up with her new responsibility. Teachers can really see the impact that financial education has on students – even years later.” ~ Susan Kallschmidt, Oak Hills High School

“Teaching financial literacy has allowed me to empower students to not only avoid the pitfalls in the financial world but to come out ahead.  It is alarming how mistakes at an early age can ruin our future goals and knowing I can keep students on the right path once they leave my classroom is very gratifying.” ~Michael L. Cohen, The High School For Arts & Business

“The financial literacy / personal finance curriculum has been a massive success at our school this school year. The program has increased student engagement, and has given us as teachers the opportunity to introduce our seniors to information that will impact their lives once they leave high school. To enhance the program we have set up multiple enrichment activities, including a guided tour of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The most successful project we have done is our “Fall of 2013 Budget Project”. In this project we had our seniors identify their “needs” and “wants” as they get ready to begin their collegiate or work careers. The students then calculated the costs of those “needs” and “wants”.  I had one student during the project tell me; “I had no idea living at college would cost this much”. The program has been extremely useful in terms of exposing our students to the real life challenges and opportunities they will face after they leave school.” ~Connor Cohn, Dobbs Ferry High School

5 comments

  1. Patricia Carroll, Weiner High School, Arkansas · · Reply

    I love it when students come to me and want to know what they need to do to receive the
    W!SE Financial Literacy Certification!! Many times they choose my Personal and Family Finance class over another Family and Consumer Sciences class because they understand the importance of being financially literate and want to receive the certification; even if it may not seem as fun as some of my other classes like Food and Nutrition where they learn the importance of good nutrition and get to cook and eat! Students have also reported to me that obtaining their certificate has also helped them to obtain better jobs. It feels good to see our younger generation so interested in wanting to learn about how to handle their finances. Some of them have seen their own parents struggle with finances and have stated that they do not want to follow the same path their parents had taken. They want to learn so they can stay out of credit card debt, prepare for their future, etc.

  2. Lou DiCesare · · Reply

    It happens each year…… “Mr. DiCesare, this course (Career & Financial Management) should be a graduation requirement!” This is what students at the end of the course are telling ME that it should be required. That speaks volumes to how important this material is – when students recognize the value, and want every student to take the class. That, combined with graduates who I run into 5, 10, 15 years after graduation (seeing that i live in the same town I teach and run into many graduates) and they share how the information in the course helped inform so many financial decisions they have made over time to help keep their financial life in balance. Whether or not a graduation requirement ever happens, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach this material to the “lucky ones” who sign up for the class.

  3. Carolyn Starkey · · Reply

    Teaching Financial Literacy has not only empowered my students, but their parents and myself as well!

  4. Tiffanie Smith · · Reply

    When i was told that i would be teaching Personal Finance and now Economics & Personal Finance over 5 years ago, i was ELATED. Having a degree in Accounting and eager to teach high school students about what NOT to do and how to SAVE now was right down my alley. I get tickeled when i have students approach me and THANK me for teaching them about financial literacy. Several of my former students are now majoring in Finance/Accounting and loving every moment of it. Through the W!SE testing program, it has allowed me to see the results from my teaching that students “GET IT”. Now a graduation requirement in the State of Virginia I will be able to see more students come through and reap the benefits of Personal FInance through my teaching from real life experiences.

  5. Lorraine Rapp, Twin Falls High School - Academy of Finance · · Reply

    The main reason I became a business teacher was because I saw my parents struggle their whole life with their finances. It doesn’t matter how much money you make….it is how you manage it that matters. My students know that my heart beats for financial literacy and that it is the cornerstone of every area of ones life. How one manages their money can determine how well their relationships are with their business partners, spouse, community, church, children, etc. We take our students to a session of Bankruptcy Court every year and the judge speaks to our students after the session. The judge is truly the reason why I take the students to court because honestly – the court session itself is usually very mundane and full of legal jargon the students have a hard time following. Nonetheless the judge is amazing and tells the students exactly how it is….and doesn’t hold back in respect to telling the students to own more than they owe and to be very careful when agreeing to student loan debt. Going to college should be in the plans, but how much debt one takes on can be controlled.

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