Financial Literacy is a new Florida-mandated course for high school students who began ninth grade in 2021 or following. Signed by Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, the policy was initiated to teach students how to be more financially responsible and to prepare them for the working world.
The course is taught by Social Studies teachers at Fort Lauderdale High School, such as Ms. Kelly Panza, who feels this is a step in the right direction for students.
“The goal of this course is to improve the students’ lives in the future,” she said. “They will make better choices and see how decisions made now […] have a long-term impact in their life. The hope is to have more stable adults in the future who make wise financial decisions.”
The course features activities like stock market simulation games where students are given $100,000 to invest in companies. It also prepares students for real-life situations such as creating a budget and submitting a sample college application. Student workbooks are provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The books introduce topics such as finding a career, starting college, and applying for financial aid.
The course was previously optional, but it is now a graduation requirement. It can be taken online through Florida Virtual School, and sophomores who took it over the summer described what it taught them.
“I learned about the importance of interest rates, credit scores, and how to calculate net/gross income,” stated Natalia Bivens (10).
Abril Porcile (10) felt that the information learned is definitely important.
“Learning about certain tax subjects and keeping a stable budget, the different types of insurance policies, and how they benefit me during certain circumstances will definitely be valuable,” she shared.
Students who are currently enrolled look forward to what the course offers.
“I’m really excited to learn about taxes, credit scores, and budgeting,” expressed Jamison Dior (9).
Social Studies teacher, Mr. Kyle Robbins, is spearheading the course activities.
“Students are starting to become more comfortable with the class […] are opening up more and starting to enjoy it,” he said. “We just finished designing t-shirts to sell as a project to simulate supply, demand, and money flow. It also teaches budgeting, opportunity cost, entrepreneurship, and cost-benefit analysis.”
In recent years, people have argued that high schools fail to teach students about essential, real-life skills that will present themselves in their young-adult time. Financial Literacy will fill this void and offer insight that can make devastating financial struggles preventable.