California is the latest state to require financial literacy

The move comes more than six months after Pennsylvania announced a similar law. Here's why the curriculum is growing in popularity.

Over the years, education leaders have moved several subjects to the top of their lists of learning essentials for their students, like artificial intelligence and digital literacy. Most recently, there’s been a growing focus on financial education.

Last week, California became the 26th state to require finance education for its high school students. By 2027, students will have access to a stand-alone personal finance course, the new law declares.

Gov. Gavin Newsom contends that financial literacy is a necessary skill that students should obtain at an early age.

“We need to help Californians prepare for their financial futures as early as possible,” Newsom said in a statement. “Saving for the future, making investments and spending wisely are lifelong skills that young adults need to learn before they start their careers, not after.”

A recent report from consultant company Tyton Partners reveals that only 24% of high school students were guaranteed at least one semester of personal finance as of March 2023. In California, less than 1% of high school students are required to take a personal finance course.

“Every child should have the opportunity to build these essential skills before navigating adults financial choices, not just those who happen to have the opportunity to learn these concepts at home or through an elective,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a statement.

California’s move comes more than six months after Pennsylvania became the 25th state to guarantee a stand-alone, half-credit course in financial literacy, according to finance curriculum provider Next Gen Personal Finance, which also offers a live dashboard tracking financial education requirements in the U.S.

In 2020, only eight states required the curriculum. By 2022, that number had grown to 17.

DA coverage

For a more in-depth look at which states require finance education, view the dashboard here. Or, read up on District Administration’s latest coverage surrounding curriculum and instruction below:

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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