2016 Survey of the States Reveals Slow to No Growth in Personal Finance and Economic Education

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Financial Literacy Education Stagnant According to Biennial Report from the Council for Economic Education

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In order to close the opportunity gap, we need to teach economics and personal finance in schools and equip our teachers with the tools they need to help students develop these essential real-world skills.

The United States continues to lag behind many developed nations in financial literacy, ranking just 14th in the world behind countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, and others. And yet, the Council for Economic Education’s 2016 Survey of the States reveals only slow growth in K-12 personal finance education, while economic education remains stagnant.

The Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools is conducted every two years by the Council for Economic Education (CEE). The biennial report collects data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and includes commentary from experts and educators in the field to provide a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States.

Previous research has demonstrated that students from states with required financial education courses have higher credit scores and a lower probability of delinquency as young adults. And yet, according to the Survey’s key findings:

The number of states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance remains unchanged since 2014—just 17.

Only 5 states require a standalone semester course in personal finance.

Only 20 states require high school students to take a course in economics—less than half the country and two fewer than in 2014.

There has been no change in the number of states that require standardized testing of economic concepts.

Since 2014, two additional states include personal finance in their K-12 standards and require those standards to be taught.

“We know that financial education has a profound impact on our kids,” said Nan J. Morrison, the President and CEO of the Council for Economic Education. “In order to close the opportunity gap, we need to teach economics and personal finance in schools and equip our teachers with the tools they need to help students develop these essential real-world skills.”

The 2016 Survey of the States was made possible by funding from Wells Fargo.

“Teaching young people how to manage their money and make sound financial decisions is critically important to their personal financial security and the country’s economy,” said Jimmie Paschall, a Wells Fargo executive vice president, and lead executive for the company’s Hands On Banking® program. “Financial education gives individuals the fundamental knowledge, resources and tools that enable them to reach their financial dreams, whether it’s paying for college, buying a home or starting their own business.”

The 2016 Survey of the States is available for download at: http://www.councilforeconed.org/policy-and-advocacy/survey-of-the-states

Visit the interactive site at http://www.SurveyoftheStates.com

About the Council for Economic Education

The Council for Economic Education is the leading non-profit organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school - and we have been doing so for 66 years. We carry out our mission by educating the educators: providing the curriculum tools, the pedagogical support, and the community of peers that instruct, inspire, and guide. All resources and programs are developed by educators, and delivered by our national network of affiliates. Our goal is to reach and teach every child. Each year CEE’s programs reach more than 55,000 K-12 teachers and over 5 million students across the United States.

For further information about the Council for Economic Education go to: http://www.councilforeconed.org.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,700 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

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