By Ruby Balbuena and Taylor Vu
Throughout our research of high schools not offering financial education, we were very disappointed to see that schools are not teaching students the information that we would need for when becoming an adult. Even our school, Summit Denali, which once had an adulting class, no longer offers it.
All high schools should offer an adulting class because students are not being taught the basic knowledge of finances. Learning finances is a big part of being an adult because it helps you manage your money wisely.
Why having an adulting class is important
Having an adulting class is extremely important because it will teach students the basic skills of managing financial necessities.
In high school, they teach a lot of information that students won’t use later on in the future as an adult. The point of attending school is learning about topics that will help students when they become adults. So why aren’t students being taught about financial education?
Adults handle a large amount of finances like taxes, credit cards, real estate purchases, etc. It can become a very complicated world that students will need help with.
In an Omaha World-Herald article, Hanna Conklin, a junior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said that, “If they made them (adulting classes) gen eds, I’d probably take them instead of other classes.” This class is important because it is helping her better prepare herself for the adult world.
Even a college student agrees that taking an adulting class is important because it better prepares them as an adult. Without the class, students are more likely to come across debt which can lead to negative consequences.
This can be seen within a Forbes Article, which stated that, “Millennials are starting their careers with a combined $1.52 trillion in debt. … Being taught about debt, the different ways to pay for colleges, and the importance of not borrowing more than you can afford could help to prevent these massive numbers.”
As for the curriculum, the ideal financial education course would include how to do taxes, use a credit card wisely, how to buy a house/car, etc. All of these things include money management, which is knowing how to spend your money wisely and saving it.
Throughout the curriculum, students will be able to experience realistic situations that they might encounter later on in their life. The class would have projects about each section that is applied to real-world situations and also simulations. Some projects they learn about how to buy a house, car, and insurance. Along with that, they will also know how to do taxes on their own or at least have the knowledge of how to do it and knowing how to keep a good credit score.
In the middle of the school year, a survey will be assigned to determine what they did and didn’t understand. From this, teachers will be able to go over the confusing bits to help the students understand and make sure they are ready for adult life.
When it should be taken
This class should be taken as a required elective for high school students because, if younger students were to take the course, they might not take it seriously enough to retain the knowledge when they become an adult.
Within one of our interviews, Reiss Copeland, a senior at Summit Denali High School, said that he would take the course, but not if he “had to give up another class.” Not all students would want to give up their other classes such as Spanish for the financing class because they may need those for a college or university that requires them.
By being an elective, students will have the time to understand that course over the periods of multiple classes since there is so much to learn. The financial world is such a complicated place that even some adults don’t understand it themselves, and the students can easily get lost into it
Why not when they’re older?
One might argue that high school students should take financing classes when they’re in college, not when they’re in high school because they’re not full adults yet and they have other classes to worry about.
We understand why one might have this opinion, but it’s better to teach students in high school because not all of the students will be attending college. There will be students after high school who will decide to go into the workforce instead of going to college, so they won’t have the chance to take the adulting class then.
By taking a financial education class in high school, students won’t have to worry as much about financial situations later on in the future, since those can happen soon once they get out of high school.
In the end, it is best to teach financial education to high schoolers as a required elective because it would best help them when they become an adult. Whether they decide to go into the workforce after high school or to college will be up to them, but at least they will have the financial knowledge that will help them once their adult life starts.
PHOTO CREDIT: Featured image: Ruby Balbuena