February 25, 2024
Finance

DC earns failing grade at teaching financial literacy; Md., Va. score high


A new report card that ranks states on how well they teach students personal finance skills gives D.C. schools a failing grade.

A new report card that ranks states on how well they teach personal finance skills has given D.C. schools a failing grade.

The Nation’s Report Card of Financial Literacy rates states based on money courses that teach students how to make money, invest cash, save for retirement and give charitable donations. School districts that require stand-alone financial literacy classes for high school graduation receive higher marks.

The report card grades each state in the United States, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, in terms of K-12 financial education. These grades are based on current statewide requirements, standards, and curriculum for personal finance.

D.C. Public Schools, which don’t offer any personal money management courses, earned an “F” in the ranking.

“They are not providing any financial literacy instruction whatsoever and there’s no requirement to do so,” said Gregg Murset, CEO of BusyKids, an allowance app that teaches children how to spend, save and share their cash. “They’re just turning a blind eye to it.”

Maryland scored a “B” on the report card, which is compiled by nonprofit group the American Public Education Foundation. While Maryland requires students to take financial literacy instruction, it does not provide a stand-alone personal finance course.

Virginia is leading the class on the financial literacy assignment, earning an “A,” with students required to complete stand-alone money classes for graduation.

In November 2023, the D.C. school district unveiled a personal finance curriculum, with course topics including credit, risk management and investing — but it has yet to be approved.

WTOP reached out to D.C. school leaders for comment on the report card and their score. They have not responded to the request.

“Personal finance is something we’re going to use literally every single day in our life, so why are we not requiring that in class? It is not going to be very beneficial if we teach supply and demand curves in class. We have to teach them basic stuff, like how (to) earn money,” Murset, who is also a certified financial planner, said.

According to a 2022 poll by the National Endowment for Financial Education, most parents want these courses.

In the survey, about 80% of adults said they wished they were required to take money courses when they went to school.

Murset urged parents in the District to take over the task of teaching their children about money.

“What you have to do is not rely on somebody else to teach your kids this stuff,” he told WTOP. “You’ve got to be the one, even if you stink at it. Say, ‘I want you to be better at this than I am.’”

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