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Lawmakers want to require financial literacy for Michigan high schoolers

Sharon McCutcheon

High schools in Michigan might have to add financial literacy to their curriculum. Schools would have to offer a class on personal finance management skills like spending, saving, borrowing and investing to 11th and 12th graders. That’s if a bipartisan bill making its way through the state legislature is passed.

“In the U.S. we’ve just passed a trillion in credit card debt and I just think it’s really important for the young students – 11th and 12th grade – to be prepared for their lives going forward,” said bill sponsor Diana Farrington, R-Utica.

But schools might raise concerns to the legislation.

Peter Spadafore is with the Michigan Association of School Administrators. He says their organization hasn’t taken an official position on the bills yet, but he thinks there will be concerns about the state requiring yet another course.

“Particularly in schools where you might not have the faculty numbers to support adding a whole new class that might not be taken by everyone,” he said. “This is not necessarily a money conversation, it’s more or less the, there’s only so many hours in the day.”

Thirty-one percent of kids who went to college say their high school taught them good financial habits. That’s according to a 2016 study by the Bank of America and USA Today. Almost half of the students surveyed say they wished they’d learned how to invest and how to do taxes.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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