George Lucas Educational Foundation
George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teaching Students How to Be Smart With Their Money

When schools teach financial literacy, they help students develop lifelong money management skills—and families benefit too.

January 25, 2023

As of 2021, Prince George’s County Schools in suburban Washington, D.C., are mandating that high school students complete a one-semester financial literacy class in order to graduate—joining a list of 15 states with this requirement.

As teacher Tamekia Davis points out, ”If you look at today’s economy, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we need to train and teach our young adults about finances. More than half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. We are in debt over $14 trillion collectively. One in three households don’t even have a written budget, and less than 14 percent have saved for an emergency.”

Teachers in the district have noticed that not only are their students benefiting from the knowledge, but their families are too. Says teacher Oscar Peña, “They don’t know how to understand a pay stub. These students will be able to teach [parents] how to use their money, how to do their taxes.”

Financial literacy coordinator Susan Bistransin draws much of the district’s curriculum from the nonprofit organization Next Gen Personal Finance, which offers hundreds of free resources, like downloadable lesson plans and classroom activities. Educators can access the Bean Game lesson plan and a companion PDF (also available in Spanish) for the activity seen in the video.

Says 10th grader Thomia, after playing the Bean Game, “You never know what could happen in your life and what kind of situations could go down in the future. So I think it’s just good to save money for yourself.… I think out of all my classes, financial literacy might be the one class that I think I need the most when I become an adult.”

Parkdale High School

Public, Suburban
Grades 9-12
Riverdale, MD

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  • 9-12 High School

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