Home Personal Finance CT adopts the financial literacy requirement for high school graduates

CT adopts the financial literacy requirement for high school graduates

CT adopts the financial literacy requirement for high school graduates

High school students in Connecticut will be required to take a financial literacy course to earn a degree, after both legislative chambers voted this month to add personal financial education to statewide curriculum requirements. The bill now goes to Governor Ned Lamont’s office.

Several members of the General Assembly spearheaded education in financial literacy and proposed nearly a dozen separate bills at the start of this year’s legislature. The Education Committee moved forward with SB 1165, which passed the Senate 35-1 earlier this month. The House passed the bill Tuesday by a vote of 138 to 12.

SB 1165 “ultimately will empower many young people in our state, at a critical stage of life throughout their educational careers, to make sound tax decisions and set them on the path to a brighter future,” Rep. Corey Paris, D- Stamford, said Tuesday night during the debate in the House of Representatives. Paris, one of the bill’s leading supporters, called it “good policy full of good intentions”.

With the governor’s signature, Connecticut will join 20 other states that have introduced financial literacy in recent years. So far, Minnesota, West Virginia and Indiana have passed similar legislation this year, according to personal finance curriculum provider Next Gen Personal Finance.

Connecticut’s requirement begins with the graduating class of 2027, who will enter high school this fall. The class may count as a Humanities or Elective class and will not be added to any student’s existing required credits.

The State Board of Education is tasked with providing curricula and resources to local school boards, and the program is expected to include instruction in banking, investing, savings, the impact of using credit cards, and other topics.

House members debated the bill at length on Tuesday evening, citing concerns about the extra work it would require from both school districts and students.

Rep. Steve Weir, R-Andover, voted against the legislation, saying during the debate that the new requirement could limit choice and potentially affect a student’s average.

“In addition to the fiscal impact, we have the opportunity here to influence choices at the local level and potentially influence student outcomes,” Weir said.

But Rep. Christie Carpino, R-Cromwell, said she believes financial literacy is important for students. “Being a high school senior myself, financial literacy is part of ‘growing up,'” Carpino said. “They need to understand compound interest, they need to understand their debt, and when they get their first paycheck, they need to understand the implications of the taxes that come out,” she said.

In the end, SB 1165 succeeded with broad support from both sides of the aisle.

Rep. Kathleen McCarty, a Waterford Republican who serves as a senior member of the education committee, said she had opposed similar legislation in recent years, but this bill offered more flexibility for school districts.

“I know we put a lot of extra work into our boards on a mandate, but I think there’s been a lot of compromise on the bill,” McCarty said during Tuesday night’s debate. “Financial literacy is such an important life skill for economic empowerment.”

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