Teaching Thrift to Teachers

Christine Whelan | Posted on 05/10/10

Most K-12 educators don't feel like they are competent to teach the basics of personal finance to their students. This wasn't a shock to Michelle Singletary, who wrote about the recent study in Sunday's Washington Post--and it's not a shock to me, either.

Educators were asked if they felt able to instruct students in six areas: planning and money management, credit and debt, saving and investing, financially decision-making and the like. Fewer than 20% said they felt "very competent" to teach all six areas.

Why? It's not because they are uneducated or bad teachers -- it's because we do a poor job teaching thrift and finance at any and all levels of education. 

Ted Beck, president and chief executive of National Endowment for Financial Education, who conducted the study, told the Post:

"This study reinforces the need to incorporate personal money management topics into educational opportunities for teachers, whether in undergraduate or graduate curricula for students studying to become teachers, or as postgraduate or in-service courses or workshops... We have an opportunity to dramatically affect the quality of K-12 financial education by providing teachers with the subject matter expertise they need throughout their careers."

Amen to that: If we teach teachers, they can better educate our children about thrift, right use and stewardship of money and the psychology of spending. Young-adults are eager to learn these concepts. Let's give them the education they deserve.

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