New Standards to Aid Student Financial Literacy

Ohio has new academic content standards in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and business education that can position Ohio students to manage personal and business finances wisely as young adults.

House Bill 1 required that all districts begin teaching financial literacy in Grades 7 and 8.  Amended Substitute Senate Bill 311 (the Ohio Core legislation) requires that schools begin teaching economics and financial literacy to all high school students before the Class of 2014 graduates. The standards introduce many key financial and business concepts in the primary grades, however.

Entrepreneurship and business education remain as electives.

Why do we need these standards?
Until now, most Ohio students have graduated without minimal formal education in finance, and the statistics point to a great need for change. Besides a challenging business climate, the U.S. is experiencing high levels of home foreclosures, personal bankruptcies, and credit-card and college-loan debt. Predatory lending and new electronic banking tools only increase the chances that high school graduates without basic financial literacy will repeat the misfortunes of earlier generations.

How do the standards differ?

  • Financial literacy: Focuses on handling one’s personal finances, including saving and risk assessment
  • Entrepreneurship: Helps students grasp the risks and requirements of a start-up business 
  • Business education: Specifies what students must know to operate a profitable business over time

Where do the standards fit into curriculum? 
The topics can be taught as stand-alone courses. For a stand-alone financial literacy course, the teacher must be licensed in Family and Consumer Science, Business Education or Comprehensive Social Studies. They also can be taught within other courses for which teachers are already licensed. Or the content can be taught as value-added programs through partnerships with entities such as Junior Achievement and the Centers for Economic Education.

Who developed the standards?
ODE developed the standards with the help of a Financial Literacy Steering Team that included:

  • Classroom teachers and ODE consultants from the three content areas;
  • Representatives of higher education, the Ohio Centers from Economic Education, the State Treasurer’s Office and affiliate organizations; and
  • Representatives of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the banking, credit union and accounting business sectors. 

Download the standards here to begin developing curriculum. We’ll let you know about professional development opportunities related to the standards as they arise.