Stuyvesant's new personal finance elective is a great start.  Now let's make it mandatory.

Stuyvesant’s new personal finance elective is a great start. Now let’s make it mandatory.

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays from educators, students, parents, and others who think and write about public education.

When I got my first paycheck for working on a political campaign and almost a third was taken out for taxes, I was surprised because I was only earning minimum wage. I ignored that assuming that was why adults always complain about taxes.

As I was telling this as a coming-of-age story to family friends, someone explained to me that I could probably get some of that money back if I filed a tax return the following April. As the financial terms went over my head, I immediately perked up talking about a tax refund. I didn’t know it was possible, and I’m not the only one.

Head of a teenage girl wearing earrings and a white blouse.

Many high school students are about to face one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives: how to pay for their education. Yet many of us are unprepared to make this decision and many more that will follow – from paying rent to using credit cards to saving for the proverbial rainy day. What we don’t know about money management can follow us for decades.

I go to Stuyvesant High School, where students can take 30 AP courses and choose from over 50 electives. But until recently, there was no personal finance class. Graduate students were well prepared for college, but often clueless about managing their money.

In 2021, I wrote in my high school newspaper, The Stuyvesant Spectator, about the need for financial literacy education; my piece prompted Stuyvesant to create an elective in personal finance the following school year. I was delighted with the responsiveness of the school administration to the article, but soon realized that simply offering the course was not enough. In a class of over 800 students, only 8% of seniors could take the course.

Unable to register due to high demand, attended the class a few times. I watched seniors review their college acceptances and financial aid packages, and were shown how to create a budget with the actual numbers at their fingertips. In another lesson, they learned about the marketing tactics businesses use to attract customers; students created their own imaginary businesses using these strategies to understand how to avoid falling into the trap of misleading marketing claims.

Financial literacy is not a subject that only certain students should understand. It’s like a health lesson: an essential area of ​​knowledge that every high school student needs (yes, even if that means yet another graduation requirement). Recognizing this, the editorial board of the Stuyvesant Spectator published a special issue titled “The Stocktator” to promote the class and its expansion. We spoke with teachers, students, and alumni to determine what students want and need from a financial literacy course.

A bill that would require schools to offer and students to take a financial literacy course is in committee in the New York State Senate.

We found that 89% of students surveyed did not know how to take out a college loan and 92% of students wanted more financial education. Former students have shared stories of misusing credit, filing federal financial aid paperwork without help from their parents, going into huge debt, and still not understanding how to do their taxes.

In response to student demand and advocacy through journalism, our administration has expanded the personal finance course from one to two sections, but without state mandates it is difficult to offer it to everyone. More than a dozen states require personal finance training for high school students, but New York, the nation’s financial capital, isn’t one of them.

New York State currently requires economics courses (necessary for graduation) to cover personal finance, but in reality at least one semester is required to introduce topics such as budgeting, banking basics , purchase or lease, insurance, identity theft and credit. scores.

There are many high schools that will not have the resources to start a personal finance class without a state mandate. A bill that would require schools to offer and students to take a financial literacy course is in committee in the New York State Senate.

I’m hoping for a chance to land a spot in Stuyvesant’s personal finance course next semester because I still don’t know how to get a college loan or how to protect myself from identity theft. I still don’t understand the difference between a checking account and a savings account, and I don’t know what my credit rating is. While I was getting my tax refund, the process was so complicated that I let my dad figure it out. But I’m almost an adult and I don’t want to start my independent life limited by my lack of financial literacy.

High school students focus a lot on scores when it comes to the SAT, ACT, and their GPA. But few of us know enough about the score that will follow us into adulthood: our credit score. After high school, some of us will never solve a math problem again. Our test scores and GPAs will fade into inconsequential measures of past accomplishments. But each of us will have to manage our finances. This is what we must learn.

Anisha Singhal is a senior at Stuyvesant High School and the editor of the school newspaper, The Stuyvesant Spectator. She is a financial literacy advocate and soccer player. You can often find her Citi Biking around New York.

#Stuyvesants #personal #finance #elective #great #start #lets #mandatory

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *