A new initiative in California aims to address the lack of personal finance education among young people by making a personal finance course a requirement for high school graduation. The proposal, spearheaded by Next Gen Personal Finance’s advocacy arm, is currently seeking approval to be included on the November 2024 ballot. Currently, 23 states have already implemented similar requirements.
While initially introduced as standalone legislation by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, the bill was amended to incorporate personal finance lessons into economics classes instead. However, McCarty withdrew his bill, citing its dilution, and expressed support for the ballot measure.
The California School Boards Association opposed McCarty’s original bill, arguing that it would burden local school agencies with additional curriculum development and implementation responsibilities. Despite this opposition, Next Gen co-founder Tim Ranzetta remains optimistic, citing public opinion polls that show 78 percent of California voters support the proposed requirement.
If the measure passes, Next Gen is prepared to invest millions in its successful implementation. The organization already offers free personal finance curriculum and teacher training to schools, with successful programs already deployed in districts across California.
While the proposal has garnered support from State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, who has worked closely with Next Gen on its requirements, some concerns have been raised regarding the additional burden it places on students. Starting from the 2029-30 school year, students would have to fulfill the personal finance requirement alongside other existing requirements, as well as the newly mandated ethnic studies course.
Despite these concerns, the push for incorporating personal finance education into high school curricula comes at an opportune time. With many young people struggling with student loans, credit card debt, and other financial challenges, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to make informed financial decisions is becoming increasingly important.
What is the new proposal in California?
The new proposal aims to make a personal finance course a requirement for high school graduation in California.
Who is advocating for this requirement?
Next Gen Personal Finance’s advocacy arm is leading the charge for this proposal. The organization already offers free personal finance curriculum and teacher training to schools.
Why is the original legislation being withdrawn?
Assemblymember Kevin McCarty withdrew his bill because it was watered down. Instead of mandating standalone courses, the amendment diluted the bill to require personal finance lessons be incorporated into economics classes.
Why are some opposed to the proposal?
The California School Boards Association opposes the proposal, arguing that it would place an additional burden on local school agencies, requiring them to develop lesson plans and implement the mandate.
What support does the measure have?
Public opinion polls show that 78 percent of California voters support the personal finance requirement. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond also supports the measure and has collaborated with Next Gen on its requirements.
When would the personal finance requirement take effect?
If the measure is approved, the personal finance requirement would start in the 2029-30 school year, alongside the newly mandated ethnic studies course.