Virginia Implements Economic and Financial Literacy Course

With millions of consumers resorting to using credit cards, it is no wonder why our economy is suffering. Yes, it is a means of convenience, but the consequences of debt are weighing on many families, especially in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In a report released in October by the Federal Reserve Bank, Americans have $2457.5 billion in outstanding credit card debt.

With this troubling statistic, there is a great need to educate and empower people to become more responsible with spending. Virginia has mandated that every high school student must take a course in economics education and financial literacy before graduation. This course would “further the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for responsible citizenship in a constitutional democracy.” The curriculum for this course was developed through partnerships with various financial institutions and government agencies.

Governor Bob McDonnell issued a challenge, as part of the Virginia High School Initiative, designed to support teachers and school systems with the implementation of this new course.

“The global economy has changed many of the ways in which we live and do business. It is clear that Virginians need to be equipped early on with an understanding of how our economy works and with effective money management skills. The Governor’s Challenge and the new economics and personal finance courses will give our young people perspective on the economy and tools to make sound financial decisions.”

This challenge will be conducted in partnership with the Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE). High school students from around the Commonwealth are encouraged to participate in a free online challenge between March 7 and April 4. Students can participate in an economics division or a personal finance division. Eight regional winners in each of the three divisions will be recognized. They, and four other high scoring teams in each division, will be invited to participate in a live championship challenge held at Virginia Commonwealth University on April 20, 2012.

Teachers have also benefited from this challenge, as they have received instruction from experts through centers at Christopher Newport University, George Mason University, James Madison University, Lynchburg College, Old Dominion University, University of Mary Washington, Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University. The institutes have been provided at no charge to teachers or school divisions because of the significant financial support from various foundations.

This is a step in the right direction. There is a great need for students to become literate economically before entering into the real world.

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