What I Wish I Learned in High School
Originally posted on EdNet Insight
Written by Dr. Steven Sims, CEO and Founder, The Money Side of Life from brass| MEDIA Inc.
A note from Robyn: I am sharing this article today because I am greatly passionate about finanacial education and I hope you are too. This information is imperative and the message cannot be more important in these rapid times of change. Please share this article with parents, teachers, friends and administrators. We must get this word out.
It’s tough to be a young adult today. Every generation says this but consider a young adult today:
Student debt levels are at historic highs. For the first time in 130 years, more young adults live with parents than not. Forbes reported in a recent article that “two-thirds of young adults commit at least one credit fumble (overspending on a credit card, missing payments, or defaulting) before they turn 30”.
Consider that young adults today have lived through the bursting of the housing bubble, constant global conflict, and the “Great Recession.” Add to this the rapid expansion of technology and global access to information, and it is no wonder that young adults are finding it hard to adapt when they graduate (if they go to college) and can’t find a job for much above minimum wage.
There has never been a time in history that the concept of being “career and college ready” could have more meaning and impact.
In March 2016, Achieve, a non-profit education reform organization released a study based on “College and Career Readiness of U.S. High School Graduates” and asked a seemingly simple question: “Are high school graduates prepared for post-secondary success? The conclusion?”
“Too few high school graduates are prepared to succeed in post-secondary education, the military, and careers.”
So, after hearing so many people tell us, “I wish I had learned that in high school,” we decided to try to help change that message.
People are more likely to make better decisions about their money and careers when they understand financial concepts and outcomes in the context of their daily life. Money and the ability to earn it influences everything in your life: where you live, whether you can get an education, whether you’ll be hired for a job, what kind of transportation you use, what kind of food you eat, and ultimately how you think and feel about yourself.
Knowing how to manage money is one of life’s most important skills.
So what characteristics should a successful program include?
Effective programs include these four elements:
Experiential learning associated with relevant topics
Required collaboration and working with others
Easy access to information – mobile-friendly digital and print resources
Teacher-Mentored Experiential Learning/Relevance
Nothing is a better teacher than experience. Connecting personal experiences with highly complicated financial subjects (like borrowing, saving plans, or living independently) is the best way to make sure students understand topics.
Research shows that highly interactive methods like simulations or solution-based projects have a particularly positive influence on student understanding. Get students’ attention by making the concepts applicable to their present-day lives. Relevance is important for retention. Focus on concepts instead of weighty topics that seem too far away.
Working together is an important skill in and out of school. Collaboration is a powerful tool to help students grasp concepts. When students are up and moving, they’re more likely to be mentally engaged.
Have students work in teams to solve a financial problem. Ask them how they would solve the Flint, Michigan lead in the water problem, which was brought on by poor economic management. Organize them into groups to propose and debate financial and life/career-related issues.
Digital and Print Combinations
Schools are going digital, and yet there still rages the debate about retention and value of print. Supplemental print materials are common or necessary where bandwidth or cost is a concern. A mix of materials and easy-to-use digital tools is a strong asset.
With the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), more funding seems to be available to support Career and College Readiness and personal finance. Sources like Perkins grants or even community sponsorship can be garnered with a little effort and creativity for schools to acquire curricular offering. Be sure to find a program that does not limit access or have hidden per teacher or per student additional fees.
Being young is tough. Being young and not understanding money in today’s world is a disaster. We all need to build support. If career and college readiness linked with personal finance is not on your school’s radar, start building support to change the picture.
Become an advocate to get people excited and let’s talk more about the money side of life. Your students will thank you.[irp posts=”8655″ name=”Donald Roden: The Professor Who Founded a Prison-to-College Program that Provides a Second Chance”]
Dr. Steven Sims is the CEO and Founder of brass|MEDIA Inc. and the creator of The Money Side of LifeTM. He has been involved in technology and education his entire career. This all started when he sat in on the first “Computers in Education” course ever offered and computer science was considered a foreign language. After years in the college classroom and several entrepreneurial ventures, he and his son became interested in helping young adults understand money when they noticed how his son’s fellow classmates watched him check his stocks in the computer lab. His son was interested in learning how to invest, so they took experiential learning to heart and opened an E-Trade account, put some money in, and thought “there goes the college tuition.” Much to their surprise the investment took some pretty interesting turns. Today it’s The Money Side of LifeTM and a testament to what a little technology and a collaborating son and father can do together. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit his site at: http://www.moneysideoflife.com