Thursday, January 10, 2008
Pushing A New Educational Market Called Fiscal Literacy by Akindele Akinyemi
We are moving towards financial freedom for our children in this day and age due to the fact that we have a new wave of thinkers in the midst. We already know that education in the ultimate eradication tool used to defeat poverty. While we are getting geared up for elections this year I do not hear anyone coming out with a sound financial literacy plan for our children on either side of the aisle.
It does not matter what you call yourself in the political arena you need to understand that our children need to learn free market economics. It is a severe crisis when black youth in many urban public schools aren't academically competitive with their white peers, especially in math. The old school people will cry out racism and unequal funding when this is not the answer. The issue is dealing with educational quality.
I feel that, as a charter school proponent, charter advocates should be looking into designing programs from K-12 that places an emphasis on financial literacy. In fact, it’s rare for elementary schools to teach economics or finance. Just seven states have made taking a personal finance course a high school graduation requirement, and only 17 have made economics a high school requirement. Did Michigan, which is in a recession, make personal finance a high school graduation requirement?
The percentage of affluent blacks investing in the stock market is actually falling, while such investment by their white peers remains steady. That's partly because blacks have historically relied on real estate as a primary wealth builder. Plus, blacks save far less than whites for retirement.
Here is another point.
Young African-Americans place relatively more emphasis on spending than on saving.
African-American youth are less likely than Whites to receive education in money management or be given the opportunity to play financial games including stock market games at school.
Fewer African-American students than white students report learning money management from their parents and a higher proportion report receiving a regular allowance from their parents.
We talk about bringing Detroit back but all I see is an emphasis on MORE social programming for the neighborhood children. Our people are going to have to stop living in that comfort zone and start talking about economic development.
We can no longer be afraid to travel overseas to conduct business with our peers. We cannot rely on conspiracy theories to keep us afraid. We talk about the New World Order but are we talking about keeping some LAW AND ORDER in homes?
More than one third of workers don't save for retirement. College students, unable to manage rising credit card debt, are increasingly joining the two million Americans who file for bankruptcy each year, and they are more likely to drop out for financial reasons than academic ones.
The quality of financial education is so low that the average score on a questionnaire administered by advocacy group Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy was an abysmal 52.4 percent, with only one in five students claiming to have learned financial literacy in school. News like this should send a strong message to education officials and politicians. But they continue to ignore the problem. I guarantee you that I will not find ONE candidate who is running for State Representative in Detroit THIS YEAR that will bring up financial literacy as part of their platform to FIX the State's Economy. How can you fix the state's economy if you have no working knowledge of appropriations?
School administrators are understandably busy, desperately trying to meet the No Child Left Behind Act's Adequate Yearly Progress goals. That law attempts to close the achievement gap in math and reading, but legislators must understand that there are gaps in other segments of education, including economics education, where all students fare poorly.
One of Gov. Granholm's educational goals is to "prepare high school students for success by promoting rigorous and advanced coursework," but schools can't take measured steps toward teaching financial literacy without clear state legislation.
A new act should increase support of state grant programs and current projects, such as Excellence in Economic Education and the Jump$tart Coalition, and mandate financial education in schools. It is time for Lansing to step up and recognize that we all need to be financially literate in order to become productive citizens -- if not the leaders who make economic choices in business and government. If our State Lawmakers can make these small modifications, the rewards will be incredible.