I got a call today from a California Jump$tart board member who was doing a survey of the states to find out each state’s educational requirements in finance education. I was once again reminded of Oregon’s digression in their financial education requirements, while we are seeing other states progressing in this area.
So let’s start with some history. Until 1997 Oregon’s high school students were required to have one semester or ½ credit in personal finance in order to graduate. Since then personal finance has been required in the Oregon Academic Content Standards as a small section under the Economics requirements. Here is a link to the Oregon Academic Content Standards http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/real/documents/ss.pdf
In 1998 The National Council for Economic Education did a survey of the states to find out what requirements there were around finance education. In 1998 there was only one state that required a course in personal finance be taken. The most recent survey results from 2007 showed that seven schools now required a course. Here is a link to the report http://www.ncee.net/about/survey2007/NCEESurvey2007.pdf
In 2007 the Oregon Legislature realized the lack of financial education and assembled a legislative task force to “study and make recommendations about how to increase and improve civics and financial education in kindergarten through grade 12”. I served on this task force and the final report was produced and presented to the legislature in October 2008. Here is a link to the task force’s page http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1836.
In 2009, as a result of the report Senator Rick Metsger presented a house bill to bring back the ½ credit personal finance graduation requirement which did not make it out of committee.
So where do we go from here? Why is it that Oregon was one of the few states that had it right long ago, but dropped personal finance?