West Virginia lawmakers consider making financial literacy course a requirement for graduation

Education

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) Students learn about art, literature, science and technology. But one thing they aren’t always required to learn is the basic skill of managing their finances. But a bill being considered now by West Virginia lawmakers aims to add that skill as a requirement for graduation.

“I know more about the Roman Empire than I do about my own country’s way of surviving,” said Christian McCormick, a recent high school graduate. He said he is thankful for the education he received but wishes he’d learned more about real-world financial literacy. “I don’t know anything about how to do any of this stuff. And they are expecting me to do this and just go out into the open world and know what I am supposed to do. It is really difficult,” McCormick said.

West Virginia lawmakers are considering a bill that could help students like McCormick be better prepared when they graduate. House Bill 2775 would require each high school student in West Virginia to complete a one-credit course in personal finance as a requirement for graduation. Nitro High School student Amanda Skidmore said it is a good idea. “Knowing how to prepare taxes and manage my money for car insurance and rent and everything about that I have no clue,” Skidmore said.

Credit card offers are another possible obstacle that students said they need to be prepared to handle. “I would get offers but then three different people would tell me it is better to have a bad credit score than no credit score,” McCormick said. “The next person is like don’t get a credit card you are too young. It is so confusing.”

If the bill is passed the requirement would begin in the 2021 – 2022 school year. Nitro High School student Ireland McFarland said it is a step in the right direction.

“They want us to be younger and stay young for as long as we can. But really we need to start planning for the future as soon as possible,” McFarland said.

The West Virginia Board of Education would be responsible for developing the standards for the course work. The bill passed the House and has now been sent to the Senate. 

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