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June 09, 2014

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A step in the right direction but I wish it wasn't based solely on Dave Ramsey's teachings. He's good but not perfect.

I did not have a personal finance class, but I do recall a lesson about filing tax returns as part of my required civics class.

No formal PF class, but my high school is/was a very strong college preparatory with the intention of turning out good citizens that will add value to society and succeed by any measure.

So the teachers were free to take class time to teach life lessons, and those are the memories I still have today. A Chemistry teacher showed us how smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years would buy a brand-new high-end car (as well as make us less desirable to those whom we wished to desire us!:-)). A History teacher showed us how 1/4 of 1% on a 30 year-mortgage would wind up costing the equivalent of a year's college tuition or a nice overseas vacation. Very practical advice, and about the only thing I used from the Chemistry and History classes to this day.

My high school days went from 1944 to 1951 and were at an all boys public grammar school in England. There was never a mention of anything involving money or finances. I was kept busy with algebra, calculus, trignometry, geometry, french, latin, english grammar, english literature, chemistry, physics, and physical education. Bad behavior was dealt with by either caning across one's outstretched hand or having to attend a Saturday morning detention class.

My working class parents couldn't afford for me to go to university so I decided to leave school to become an engineering apprentice and attend a local municipal college every evening and one day/week. Before I could leave I had to meet with the headmaster for the first time. His first question was, "Why do you want to become a train engineer?". He was schooled in the Arts at Oxford University and seemed to have no idea what an engineer was or did other than to keep a steam train operating. Anyway, I left school, finished my apprenticeship, married my sweetheart, and we left on the first available boat with savings of $400, where a job as an engineer was waiting for me at a Canadian aircraft company. After two years we moved to the USA where there was a great shortage of engineers. After 2 years in Denver, we moved to California and have been there ever since.

Our high school had a required Economics class for seniors (this was 1993). I took it the summer before my senior year thinking to "get it out of the way". It turned out to be my favorite class out of all my four years. It was more of an Econ 101 with a little personal finance thrown in. I later went on to get a degree in Econ and although I don't use it for work, the basic principles have stuck with me. I think it had a positive influence on my way of thinking about earnings, savings, and evaluating the opportunity cost of everything. Very glad I took the class and agree that every high school kid would benefit from a basic financial skills class. Not everyone will "get it", but some will and it will help them immensely.

Ramsey's curriculum is explicitly Christianity-based, isn't it? If so, not suitable for public schools.

Teaching personal finance in school should be a must. Just not too sure about Dave Ramsey. Just as bad as using Suze Orman

I had a PF course in high school (either '96 or '97) taken while a junior. I remember it being a very useful and valuable course that discussed many of the basics of PF. The curriculum covered saving, investing, borrowing, and some general accounting.

I would have added a section specifically on student loans as the information would have been timely.

I didn't have a PF course. I probably wouldn't have been interested at that point. I'll try to teach my kid the basis and raise some awareness for him. Hopefully, he'll like this kind of stuff by high school.

TSN - exactly re: the student loans. I think "basic" personal finance can't really be taught after the point you are living on your own with a job and expenses and no support and no student loans (its truly a trial by fire and the basics are learned in a hurry).

But a lot of debt occurs now before this point (credit card and esp. student loan), where I think it could really help.

1978 I had general business which taught all the basics of running a business including profit & loss, general accounting procedures,different types of business, etc. It was my sophmore year in highs school. Senior year was Macroeconomics. In college was Macroeconomics again and Construction economics.

With Boy Scouts Perssonal Finance & Family life ( which goes over budgets and expenses and tracking)are an Eagle required Merit Badge. Both my sons are Eagles.

Kudos to that school district for trying to better equip their students before they are sent off into the world. It would be excellent for this to start to show up in other districts and states. Although personal finance is a touchy subject for some any bit helps especially as a young adult.

I think sometimes middle/upper class Americans forget that some of these young kids lack a stable household and they may not even be able to count on dinner being on the table let alone a lesson in how to balance a checkbook! This type of news is music to my ears, I'm looking forward to seeing this trend spread.

I took an economics class and a number of weeks were devoted to personal finance. Fortunately or unfortunately I did not really learn anything, as everything that was taught was taught to me by my parents at that point.

Perhaps I feel this way because I had parents that instilled solid financial principals in me at a young age, but I really think it is a shame that schools have to teach this stuff. It really should be something a parent ingrains in their children. Obviously I do realize this is something that it is needed however.

I also took an accounting class in high school; not to learn something but to spend more time with a girl I fancied at the time. Funny thing is that I went on to get a CPA and do tax structuring for a living and ended up hating the girl after a few days of actually talking to her. :) early life lesson I guess.

@LimeyJunior..the Christianity stuff can easily be stripped out of Dave Ramsey's teachings to make it appropriate for a secular school environment. Pretty much every philosophy or religion that has stood the test of time has taught something similar to what Dave Ramsey teaches.

The Christianity element is a bit of a problem for a public school so the district should allow the requirement to be filled by other means (shadowing financial professionals or those who work with budgets, unpaid internships @a bank, etc.).

@Sarah, the Ramsey course has nothing religious about it and emphasizes staying out of debt. Where did you get your information?

Interesting commenters have latched onto this objection. From reported news stories and personal observation, there appear to be quite a few similarities between Teacher's Unions and organized religion.:-)

Our school didn't have a formal class on personal finance though they had some business classes that kind of served that purpose. Unfortunately I dont think it would have sunk in fully at that age. The best time would be at the end of high school or the first week in college. In high school reality hadn't sunk in yet it took some bad decisions for that to happen.

In Nebraska, we learned nothing about personal finance while inside our public school. Kind of scary now that I type it out.

BUT I just found out my old FBLA adviser has started to give 'The Total Money Makeover' as a graduation gift to each of her students. Smart lady.

I took an economics class in high school and that got me interested in finance and personal finance in particular. I wish personal finance was offered.

When I took a personal financial planning class in college, it was an easy A for me. But it was sad how many of my classmates were clueless on the basics.

There wasn't a personal finance course taught when I was in high school, but I took a general business course that covered some financial topics like balancing a checkbook and doing basic taxes. I was the only freshman and the majority of the class was non-college bound seniors. The one thing that stands out in my memory is that many of the seniors struggled with balancing the fictional checkbook, and the ones I keep in touch with are still having financial problems over 30 years later. Just as with learning any other subject, some folks will use the knowledge to their advantage, while it goes right over the head of others.

This is certainly better than nothing, which is what most of the US is equipped with. I never had the opportunity for a course like this. I was never in debt, but never learned to save until I met my wife. She set me straight and I would never go back.

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