Financial Literacy Conference Focuses on New Education Standards

Rhode Island Treasurer-Elect Seth Magaziner addressed conference attendees at Rhode Island College.

Rhode Island Treasurer-Elect Seth Magaziner addressed conference attendees at Rhode Island College.

More than 200 educators, social service providers, students and civic leaders attended the Rhode Island Jump$tart Coalition’s 2014 Financial Capability Conference at Rhode Island College to learn and share best practices for financial literacy education.   

In opening the conference, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo said educating high school students on how they can be financially responsible adults – including how they can finance their college education – is critical to their future success.

“I work with and for students everyday who have concerns about their financial future,” Carriuolo said. “But those concerns shouldn’t keep people from a college education.”

Conference workshops focused on providing tools and resources to those who connect the public to financial literacy information and services. Topics included budgeting and spending wisely, credit scores, the college investment, personal finance in a blended-learning environment and integrating new financial standards into curriculum.

Last month, the Rhode Island Council for Elementary and Secondary Education endorsed the Council for Economic Education’s standards for literacy education standards, becoming the fourth state in the country to do so.

The standards address earning income, buying goods and services, using credit, saving, financial investing and protecting and insuring – all topics, conference speakers, agreed have been missing in the state’s educational system.

A push to adopt the standards was led by a collaboration of educators and educational leaders. Sen. Jack Reed, who addressed conference attendees via a video feed, supported the initiative.

“Financially literate citizens are good for the economy and our community. I am proud Rhode Island is tackling this issue hands-on,” Reed said, adding that he feels the state’s collaborative approach to instilling financial education in its school is especially promising.   

“Our young people need the education of these new financial education standards,” said R.I. Treasurer-Elect Seth Magaziner. “We need to make sure our educators have the tools they need to do this work.”

R.I. Deputy Major Leader, Rep. Deborah Ruggiero said what students learn in the classroom can impact how they conduct their future financial lives.

“Financial literacy is such an important life skill and many people, regardless of their education and financial situations, struggle with money because money doesn’t come with instructions,” Ruggiero said. “This is so important for our young people and our economy.”

R.I. Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist led a lunchtime panel of Rhode Island high school and college students in a discussion on the importance of financial education to young people. East Greenwich High School student Charlotte Palmer and other members of the @RealEdRI advocacy group discussed how their research, along with Jump$start President Margaret Brooks and 2014 R.I. Teacher of the Year Patricia Page, sparked the effort to adopt the national financial education standards.

For more information about the Council for Economic Education’s standards, visit www.councilforeconed.org.

Financial literacy resources also can be found at www.rijumpstart.org.