Financial literacy course belongs in NYC high schools



The Editorial Board

New York City should include a financial literacy class in its public high school curriculum. Many students would benefit from learning about credit cards, interest rates, loans and other personal finance topics before they graduate high school.

In the current environment, financial literacy is essential for students’ success.

Currently, 21 states including Ohio have passed a law mandating personal class as an elective or math course.

Ohio’s new law requires that students cannot graduate without passing one half-credit course, or a minimum of 60 hours in financial literacy. Each school must have at least one teacher with the education license to teach personal finance, and the cost of obtaining that license is covered by the Ohio Department of Education.

New York City should model its mandate after this law, with adjustments for the city’s governing structure.

It may seem like adding another graduation requirement to the already strenuous course load of New York’s high school students is counterproductive. However, given the economic recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever students who graduate need to be equipped with advanced knowledge of the financial world.

Given the economic inequality that New York City faces, a financial literacy class will also help address the education gap that stops low-income and working-class students from achieving their fullest potential. First-generation and immigrant students can especially benefit from this because they may not learn this information from their parents.

Furthermore, the pandemic has radically transformed the market. The unemployment spikes back in March 2020 disproportionately affected low-income and blue-collar workers. For students, it is important to understand the market forces at play and how it affects their futures.

Community leaders across America have taken on the task of educating underserved communities.

Nick Teglas, an economics teacher from North Rockland High School from Thiells, New York, is one example of a dedicated educator who teaches at a Title 1 school. He wants his students to

know that their current financial situation does not define their future. With a law supporting his efforts, he can accomplish so much more.

Ultimately, a financial literacy class can positively impact students’ prospects because they will be able to understand how to navigate their finances. While it may come with the challenge of adding extra stress to students’ workload, it can also provide students with knowledge vital to them in the future.

The city should support the efforts of local community leaders in this space and teachers who believe in improving the lives of their students.