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Letters to the Editor – 7/1/11

Fry is wrong: Schools have developed financial literacy curriculum

In your June 17 edition, Donald Fry, the President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, lamented what he claimed was the lack of progress in Maryland in implementing financial literacy teaching in our public schools. I disagree with Mr. Fry’s premise that there has not been progress on this issue. Starting this fall, all school districts will be required to implement a newly-adopted financial literacy curriculum. In fact, this is the fastest a state curriculum has ever been developed and published.

During 2008-2010, the Task Force on How to Improve Financial Literacy in the State — co-chaired by Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Anthony Muse and comprised of legislators, educators, and representatives of several financial services industries — met to consider how to improve the financial education of students and adults. The Task Force’s first recommendation was that the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) develop K-12 personal financial literacy standards that all school districts be required to implement.

Recognizing the importance of this issue, MSDE developed a financial literacy curriculum in 2009, which the Maryland State Board of Education adopted in 2010. This curriculum requires instruction in financial literacy issues in a continuum, starting with grade 3 and going through high school. The learning standards include how to plan and manage money; managing credit and debt; and several others. All school districts are required to provide instruction on these topics beginning this fall. Rather than a lack of progress on this undertaking, MSDE should be commended for its rapid development of a financial education curriculum, which will improve the financial literacy of students throughout the State.

Howard J. Needle