Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Financial Literacy Program Loses 21 Pct. of Students

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Financial Literacy Program Loses 21 Pct. of Students

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Caney High School teacher Clinta Smith and a dozen other public school educators opted out of using materials from the Oklahoma Securities Commission this year.

Smith said she believes in the curriculum. One of her star students won recognition from commission Administrator Irving Faught a few years ago for her work in the career orientation portion of his agency's Invest Ed STARS program. And it's helped her own daughter appreciate that money doesn't grow on trees, Smith said.

But STARS materials cover only a few topics of the larger curriculum of financial literacy mandated by state law - as suggested by the acronym for Students Tracking and Researching the Stock market. And Smith said her small rural district can't afford to teach only a small portion of a course if the state budget crunch has eliminated the rest. Faught has heard the same thing from many other educators who have come to the same conclusion, he said. The number of students who are enrolling in STARS this year has dropped to 1,040 from 1,320 last year.

Unfortunately, they're mistaken, state Department of Education spokeswoman Erin Jasmer said. The requirements for high school graduation have not changed; school districts are still required to ensure students are proficient in 14 topics such as earning an income, planning for retirement and bankruptcy, as outlined online at http://sde.ok.gov/sde/personal-financial-literacy.

"There is confusion because when the Public Schools Activities Fund got cut, there was one line item in there that went to the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education," Jasmer said. "That was involved with the financial literacy requirements, but they only do professional development and curriculum for teachers. None of that money was going to schools anyway.

"Some people saw that and thought, 'We don't have to do that anymore,'" Jasmer said. …

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