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Opinion >  Letters

Financially illiterate

What action would you take as a corporate board member if research showed that 93% of the company’s products were deficient? As a parent, what would you do if the same statistic applies to graduates of Washington state high schools?

The 2015 Massachusetts Financial Literacy Task Force Report (page 12) said that “research shows that as little as 6.9% of high school students can be considered financially literate.” That translates into 93% of high school graduates not being fully prepared for the real world that they will enter.

Greg Gottesman (UW) talked about a university graduate in his 2013 TEDx Seattle presentation on student loan debt. She had $120,000 in student loan debt, is working two jobs, and moved back to her parents’ home. She owes almost $1,000 a month for twenty-five years and cannot get out of it.

The Next Gen Personal Finance organization has an outstanding video on YouTube that you need to watch - “The Most Important Class You Never Had.”

If the Washington State School Board is unwilling to require a class in personal finance for all high school students in order to graduate, what is a parent to do? Look at the curriculum materials from Practical Money Skills and Next Gen Personal Finance in order to develop a financial literacy program for your child. You should also call your members of the Washington State Legislature and ask them to address the lack of required financial literacy education for all students.

Mike McCarty


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