When I started volunteering within my school district three years ago, I had no thoughts about leaving a legacy. I still don't today, but as I was driving home from our final financial committee meeting before our board of education presentation, in fact, I realize I might just be doing that.
I will be presenting our three-year plan to implemented financial literacy across ten schools, seven elementary, two middle schools and a high school with a population of two thousand students.
Considering our goal is to add curriculum to all grade levels K-12, having an impact on students financial futures are very likely over many years.
A kindergartener entering our school district this year will graduate in the year 2030. I'll be sixty years old by then, and that student would have years of financial education all because of my efforts started in 2014. A nice little feather in my cap, but not anywhere close to the reason I started pursuing this effort.
Here's My Why
Over time in our debt repayment journey ($109K dumped in 50 months) I began to feel more confident about the path we were on. After getting past the first several tough months and adjusting to our new behaviors, learning to say no more often, tracking spending, and not relying on credit cards. Somewhere in the middle things clicked.
We took the unexpected in stride. We had our share of the unexpected too. My wife was in a car accident, injured, needed surgery and was out of work for a year. If we could handle that sucker punch, and only focus on her health, I think we had made it to the other side of the debt/money spectrum.
That's when I knew I wanted everyone to know the common sense secrets to personal finance. I talked with family and friends. Started the blog. I gave Dave Ramsey's “Total Money Makeover” to co-workers. I just wanted everyone to feel the things I was. Less stress, a better relationship with my family, and a sense of control over money.
Looking at my three children, I'm so excited for their financial lives. They have such a great head start, and when my oldest son mentions taking a portion of his summer wages and opening up an investment account to test the waters, well you can bet I'm doing a little happy dance.
That's why the leap to our school district made sense to me. I don't have any data to back it up, but I'm sure there are other families in our neighborhood who struggle with the same or similar issues we did with money, debt, or credit cards.
It would be hard to cross paths with all of the adults in our community, but a partnership with the school for financial literacy has the potential to impact every single student that pass through the school's doors.
Financial Literacy Proposal
I hope you can tell I'm excited because I am. I can't wait for the possibility to change these students lives if our proposal gets approved.
So here it is:
- Year One:
- Elementary: Offer a computer-based financial literacy program to all 4th graders. Introduce standard lessons for all other grades.(K-3, & 5)
- Middle School: Offer a computer-based financial literacy program to all 7th graders. Introduce standard lessons for grades 6 & 8.
- High School: Offer one seminar per quarter on personal finance for all grade level. (9-12) Continue to provide non-required full year personal finance course.
- Year Two:
- Carry over all initiatives from Year One.
- Elementary: Standardize personal finance lessons for grades K-3, & 5. Implement in all seven elementary schools.
- Middle School: Standardize personal finance lessons for grades 6, & 8. Implement in both middle schools.
- High School: Develop a half-year personal finance curriculum and course outline.
- Year Three:
- Carry over all initiatives from Year One and Two.
- High School: Introduce a half-year personal finance class that is now a local requirement for graduation.
If that doesn't get all of your financial nerds or parents excited, I'm not sure what will. The above was a ton of work. There were many dedicated people making this a reality.
I'd be more than happy to discuss how you too can get this started in your school district.
Wish me luck. My presentation is next week.
Brian is a dad, husband, and an IT professional by trade. A Personal Finance Blogger since 2013 who, with his family, has successfully paid off over $100K worth of consumer debt. I want my three children to handle money better than I ever did at a young age. I have been teaching them as much as I can for the last 10 years. My goal is to continue to champion the financial literacy message and then why I created the “How To Rock Your Money” book. To help teenagers navigate their financial futures. I hope my family’s story of paying off over $100,000 worth of debt will inspire and motivate you to take control of your money. He blogs at BrianBrandow.com