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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 2, 2019 10:54 AM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Financial Literacy Education Requirements
In the near future I plan to re-introduce my financial literacy bill, which seeks to ensure high school students understand the concepts of personal finance before graduation and before they are legally responsible for incurring debt.

Currently, Pennsylvania schools may, but are not required, to teach most personal finance concepts that are included in the state academic standards. A January 2013 report from the Task Force on Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Education, authorized by Act 104 of 2010, found that only 7.5% of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts required some type of personal finance course to graduate. A 2016 update from the Departments of Education and Banking noted that while that number had doubled in three years, still only 15% of school districts require this critical skill to graduate. More troubling, the update found that the number of students receiving financial literacy education dropped by around 100,00 between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, despite wide availability of high-quality, free and low-cost teaching tools.

Inspired by recommendations from the 2013 Task Force’s report, my legislation will ensure that all students in Pennsylvania receive a thorough and efficient education in personal finance before incurring overdraft fees, student loans, and credit card debt. Funded by private sector giving to a 501(c)3 incorporated via the Treasury, the bill would
  1. Create stand-alone academic standards in personal finance to be taught from kindergarten through 12th grade in all public schools.
  2. Require all students to complete a capstone course in personal finance before graduation.
  3. Create the Office of Financial Education within the Department of Education that will work with schools, the Department of Treasury, and private-sector stakeholders to create a curriculum that is easily adaptable to the fast-changing landscape of personal finance.
Please join me in ensuring that all students in Pennsylvania have access to what may be the most important lessons for a successful adult life. Questions or concerns may be directed to my legislative office in Harrisburg at 717-787-5970.
Thank you.

Introduced as SB59