For at least two decades, Ohio social studies, math, business, and career related academic standards have set the expectations students learn about money, budgeting, accounting and the role of business and government entities within a financial system. In the early and middle grades these standards were often embedded in math or social studies. Moving into late junior and high school, the content was more likely to occur in a specific and elective course.
In 2018, with the support of teacher – stakeholder workgroups, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE made recommendations to the State Board of Education (SBOE) to update and expand existing Financial Literacy Standards. The complete and SBOE approved k-8 standards along with grade band model curriculums (2019) can be found at https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Learning-in-Ohio/Financial-Literacy/Financial-Literacy-Standards.
Meeting the Changing Needs of Students
Elementary, adolescent, and young adults are presented with financial decisions at increasingly early ages. Gone are the days of Christmas Club deposit tickets, Piggy Banks, rolling coins and trips to the ‘Five and Dime Store’ for penny or nickel candy. Today’s youth make big ticket purchases, buy upgrades for game apps, receive, and redeem gift cards, and complete digital transactions. Working youth deal with taxes, returns, and car insurance decisions along with the need to plan and budget for post-secondary education costs. News increasingly shares stories of student entrepreneurialism! Simply stated: our youth’s experience with money has dramatically changed. To be successful, all students need the opportunity to learn personal and life-long financial skills.
The New Financial Literacy Graduation Requirement
Beginning on or after July1, 2022 all students entering ninth grade, Ohio law requires all students entering will need to earn ½ credit hour of financial literacy to meet graduation requirements. Specific implementation requirements regarding course length and delivery options s can be found at https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Learning-in-Ohio/Financial-Literacy/Financial-Literacy-in-High-School. Districts must align the courses standards and curriculum to the model approved by SBOE. However, districts have the flexibility to use vendor provided resources, materials, etc.
Financial Literacy Teacher Licensure Requirements
Proposed licensure requirements are currently open for public comment. ODE, teacher stakeholder workgroups and SBOE in recognizing the different formats and capacities of districts and staff, sought to provide ample pathways to meet these requirements. Both the proposed options and method for submitting public comments can be found at https://education.ohio.gov/About/Ohio-Administrative-Code-OAC-Rule-Comments by selecting OAC 3301-24-30 from the list of rules for review.
How Does This Affect Teachers, Students and Local Education Associations?
Districts will have some flexibility in how they create capacity in scheduling and licensure for this course. Teachers should anticipate potential shifts in staffing assignments, workload, and employer requests for professional development completion as it relates to appropriate licensure. A comparison timeline for graduation requirement and teacher licensure can be found at https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Learning-in-Ohio/Financial-Literacy/Financial-Literacy-Requirements-FAQs. As the educational expert, teachers should have a major voice in the selection and use of all curriculum, materials and resources. With the requirement beginning with ninth graders in 2022, based upon staffing levels and course catalogues students and guidance counselors may need to advocate for increased options such as a summer session and an articulated plan for timely implementation.