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Jump$tart’s Teen Teach-in Raises Alarm Over Students’ Lack of Financial Empowerment

Most Americans believe that financial education is a critical step in building the knowledge, ability, and confidence that our young people will need for a life of financial well-being.  Yet, too few of them receive enough effective financial education in school to prepare them for today’s increasingly complex financial landscape.  Especially for those students who are unable to get sufficient financial guidance at home, this education gap can result in a lifelong burden with real economic consequences.

Check Your School is the Jump$tart Coalition’s campaign to bring effective financial education to every elementary, middle, and high school in the country.  To rally support and raise awareness about the benefits of financial education in school, Jump$tart has brought together more than 50 high school teachers in 33 states – representing urban, rural, and suburban communities – whose students will share what they’ve learned in neighboring elementary schools.

Our October “Teen Teach-in” will demonstrate what high school students are learning about personal finance and their enthusiasm for the topic.  The elementary school activities showcase age-appropriate lessons and the resources available to support learning about money at an early age. The teenage “teachers” benefit from what is known as the “protégé effect,” with research showing that students who are asked to teach a lesson better understand the material than those who are learning just for themselves.  The younger kids get an eye-opening money lesson from the big kids they admire.

The Teen Teach-in itself is not a substitute for substantive, standards-based financial education in the classroom. Rather, it’s intended as a firestarter – an ignition point to amplify the voices of participating teachers and students in bringing the conversation about effective financial education in schools to the forefront.  It is an opportunity to raise awareness among educators and administrators about the curriculum resources available and programs already in place, and to provide information, guidance and encouragement to the families of the student participants.

We hope that Jump$tart’s Check Your School campaign and October Teen Teach-in serve as a clarion call to schools, parents, policymakers, community members and others to recognize the transformative potential of financial education to disrupt cycles of generational poverty and economic disparity and join us in making financial empowerment a necessary part of every student’s K-12 education.

President and CEO, Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy