Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch is halfway to her goal of initiating financial literacy requirements in the state’s public high schools.
Her proposal, contained in House Bill 637, cleared the House Wednesday on an 118-1 vote. Similar support in the Senate would assure easy sailing for the measure. However, if the Senate does not act on its financial literacy bill before March 5, the measure will die in committee.
The bill is designed to help ensure all Mississippi high school students graduate knowing how to write checks and budget, the risks and benefits of saving and investing, the difference between gross and net income and other aspects of financial literacy. “Teaching the ins and outs of managing money is a very powerful gift to give a young person,” Fitch said.
House Bill 637 requires students in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades to take one semester of financial literacy. Current law makes personal finance an option for students. According to the Mississippi Council on Economic Education (MCEE), 22 school districts in the state are already teaching financial literacy.
During the 2011-2012 school year, 5,869 of the 29,115 students in the 12th grade took the personal finance elective. A total of 161 of the 253 Mississippi public high schools already employ personal finance teachers.