Real-World Financial Skills A Part Of USD 259 Curriculum

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wichita Public Schools have added an extra requirement for students to fill before they can graduate. On top of giving students an education to help them land a well-paying job, USD 259 also wants them to take a class in financial literacy.

Financial literacy will become a requirement rather than an elective class.

Students coming into a Wichita high school classroom Tuesday, are sitting down to learn about financial literacy. Right now, it is a pilot program. But the school board is making it a requirement so that all current Wichita high school sophomores will have to take the class before they graduate.

"It's a great decision. I'm glad they supported it," Heights High School teacher Carmen Donley said.

Students in Donley's financial literacy class learn about the dos and don'ts in writing resumes and job application cover letters. They also learn a thing or two about taxes.

Throughout the semester, students learn about banking, checking accounts, investments and goal setting in financial planning. Donley says making financial literacy a requirement is an obvious choice.

"Looking at what we have in society, the mistakes people are making, kids aren't learning these things at home," Donley said. "They're not learning it in their communities. And, they've got to find a way to get it somehow so the school has to be the best option."

She says the point of the class is not to make financial experts out of the students, but to teach them fundamental things about money.

"Money will never go away. We need it to get whatever we want to get in life. So, knowing how to budget and how to use our money in ways that we won't go broke or have to file for bankruptcy or live end to end...this is a good class for us," Jhasmin Bowen, a Heights High School senior, said.

As Wichita School Board Member Lynn Rogers puts it, the idea of making this a requirement is to help kids succeed as they become adults, so that hopefully they won't make the same financial mistakes that so many others do.

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