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Money: Underrepresented in Educational Systems Everywhere


Public education is one of a flourishing country’s most important aspects. We’ve all heard it a million times: The children are the future. That’s why we try to pack as much knowledge as we feel is safe from as many fields as we can prove are important (“When are we going to use this in real life?”) into young minds while we have the opportunity. But one discipline that we can all agree most everyone will need at some point in their life is true financial literacy. Common sense is always handy, especially when it comes to handling money, both as a child and as an adult. But not every appropriate decision in necessarily intuitive. What good is a high paying job if you have no idea how to handle all the money? A cynic might wonder if a hired accountant was taking their clueless client to the cleaners every year. It’s even worse for those living check to check; if they screw up their finances considerably enough, with no one but themselves responsible, entire families could suddenly be out on the street. Entire generations of a family could face setbacks. 

As with all things, there is dissent over whether or not the classroom is the place to institute a Financial Literacy Class Model. Some insist that by the time high school students are in a position to use what they’ve learned from such a model, they will have forgotten most of what they learned, and more importantly, how to properly apply it. One of the drawbacks of a densely packed curriculum is that little time is often allotted to improve a student’s ability to think critically about decisions. Rote memorization of facts and figure need not pave the way to the ability to easily propose rational conjecture about how to move forward on a matter of money. Consultation can work excellently, but isn’t always available. It’s certainly possible for this to apply to studies in economics. But is there a solution that trumps this conundrum? 

There exist proposed programs which integrate financial literacy throughout the entire K-12 spectrum: earlier grades learn all about saving, spending, and credit; later grades discuss making intelligent choices and impulse control. When lessons are ingrained in the mind over several years, their propensity for retention increases exponentially, until these lessons exhibit themselves almost instinctively in the choices made by well-educated young adults. This might therefore alleviate expressed concerns over a student will benefit in the long term from financial programs. 

The dilemma of financial incompetence, as has been explained, can have dire, far-reaching consequences if left unchecked. As the debate over implementation of relevant models continues, it should be continuously made clear that the objectives achieved by financial literacy are of benefit to all. There is no reason why lessons passed on down to the next generation shouldn’t include those which highlight the importance of wise consumerism. Whether or not parents should be responsible for this manner of education is still up for debate.

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