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Oklahoma Makes Personal Finance Mandatory for High School Students

February 24, 2014
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231736

While the “degree debate” rages on in entrepreneurial circles, a new Oklahoma state law is looking to arm high school students with invaluable business skills. Beginning in May, the state will institute a government-mandated crash course in personal finance.

In order to graduate, students must demonstrate coherence in banking, taxes, investing, loans, insurance, identity theft and eight other areas, reports The Oklahoman.

Originally passed in 2007, state legislation requires that teachers certify students’ working knowledge of the curriculum -- but troublingly includes no funding for school districts to hire dedicated teachers, noted Amy Lee, executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education.

Related: Guess What: Going to College Still Pays

Accordingly, the courses are either being absorbed into existing government, history and economics classes, or they are delivered to students via computer programs.

Local banks have sponsored much of the experiential software -- clocking in at several thousands of dollars per school -- which virtually places students in various financial situations and typically takes six to eight hours to complete.

While other states incorporate life skills classes into the curriculum, Oklahoma’s standards are particularly stringent, Lee said.

“Where other states require four or five standards regarding earnings, savings and investing, Oklahoma has 14 standards including three that are state-specific: bankruptcy, the financial impact of gambling and charitable giving.”

Related: Is Our Education System Hurting Entrepreneurship?