Education Secretary Arne Duncan Urges Early Financial Literacy Education

Whether you support the Occupy movement or not, it’s probably caught your attention long enough to make you think about how you feel about social and economic inequality, or if you believe it’s an existing problem in our society at all. Protests and news on the state of our economy pulls on different emotions and prods at different financial worries for different people. Maybe it’s student loans, mortgages, unemployment, or unstable stocks.

There are many theories out there as to how and when we will be free of the recession, but there is a common understanding about one thing that could prevent us from having another recession in the near future: Require financial literacy as a core curriculum subject to educate a new generation of financially savvy citizens.

Earlier this month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged the Advisory Council on Financial Capability, the council that was created under President Obama in 2010 in response to the idea that too many people didn’t have personal money management skills, to improve our nation’s financial literacy through integrating financial education and training early in school curriculums as a core subject.

This preventative approach would demand schools value financial education as important as subjects like reading, math, social studies, and science. As more people are being handed down bigger financial realities, like having the responsibility to fund their retirements, Duncan believes this is the time for Americans to start learning how to manage their money in a changing economy. Duncan believes financial education should start as early as kindergarten.

“I always think you have to start young. So if this is just one course, half a semester [or] a semester senior year, [it’s] definitely late in the game.”

Dollars & Senese: How to Be Smart About Money is my most recent book for teenagers that teach them the money smarts they need to find a bank, balance wants and needs, finance college, and consider future investments and big money decisions. To learn more about Dollars & Sense, visit the LifeBound store at



“Education Secretary Appeals for Financial Literacy, Planning Instruction in Schools,” by Kenneth Corbin. 8 November 2011. On Wall Street. 10 November 2011.

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