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Starting Young: Financial responsibility to be part of curriculum at Arkansas high schools

Starting Young: Financial responsibility to be part of curriculum at Arkansas high schools

November 14th, 2017 by Gazette Staff in Opinion Editorial

Reading, writing and 'rithmatic were the staples of a good education in the old days. We should add a "hickory stick" was used as an incentive for learning.

Those days are long gone. Now students are taught a variety of subjects beyond the basics, including history, politics, higher mathematics, science and computer technology.

It's all considered part of the complete education needed to prepare people for college and then for life in the real world.

But for years one particular fact of life every adult must face has been neglected—personal finance.

A lot of young people today have no idea how to balance a checkbook—something they should know even if they pay everything by debit card.

And speaking of cards, a lot have little understanding of credit or interest rates. That's one reason so many get in trouble with credit cards offered by issuers eager to get them hooked early.

Budgeting? Taxes? The importance of starting to save early for retirement? Total mysteries to most of them.

That's going to change in Arkansas, though.

Thanks to the Personal Finance and Job Readiness Act passed this year by the Legislature, all high school students will be taught personal finance beyond currently required general economics classes.

Starting with the class of 2021, financial literacy will be worked into the curriculum at all high schools across the state, including right here in Texarkana. That's important in a state where credit scores are among the lowest in the nation.

We hope it helps. Of course, the lures of easy credit and immediate gratification is strong. And retirement does indeed seem a long way away when you are in your teens and twenties. But at least they will have a better understanding of personal financial responsibility than even a lot of adults.

After that, it's up to them.

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