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Empowerment Through Education

Developing and implementing a financial aid curriculum for american youth would result in the creation of financially empowered youth.

Photo of Clinton Mejias
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Growing up in the inner city of Chicago, my mother emphasized the importance of education to my siblings and I.  She made it very clear to us that an education would be a key lever in our trajectories towards self-empowerment.  One topic she made sure we paid particular attention to, both inside of school and out, was that of our finances.  As an extension of my mother's efforts to educate my siblings and myself on financial literacy, my mother set her sights on the youth in our neighborhood. 

She contributed to the development of the youth in our community by developing and implementing a financial literacy program for the neighboring public high school.  My mother was highly invested in using her higher education as a means to create better opportunities for the neighborhood kids.  She concentrated on different types of financial institutions (eg. currency exchanges vs. banks), various credit cards, and interest rates on savings and checking accounts.  

Now, years later, Chicago is slowly trying to make this a mandatory component in the public school district's curriculum.  Chicago's approach to this educational movement will make it a successful initiative. CPS plans to  

    - Introduce the course created by the council of economic education at the 12th     grade level

    - Work towards developing a course curriculum whose scope and sequence     encompasses grades K-12

    - Use real life applications to teach material and assist in comprehension

    - Allocate funding and assistance from financial institutions and business such as     Discover CC, JP Morgan, and Chicago Mercantile Exchange

With the proper planning, funding, and support, an initiative to teach students financial literacy would be very successful.  A well implemented financial literacy program would surely result in the mastery of financial understandings and abilities.  Understandings and abilities that will arm U.S. youth with the tools needed to make the best financial decisions.  

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Photo of Shane Zhao

Inspiring share Clinton! The reformation of Chicago's education system has been a topic of controversy within recent years. It's great to hear stories of people who have been a part of the movement to revamp Chicago's school systems. How would this financial literacy curriculum be applied to every grade level from K-12?

You might also be interested to join in on the conversations in these two posts about rethinking financial literacy in schools: https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/research/teaching-students-to-ask-their-own-questions
https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/research/replicating-the-model-of-sole-self-organised-learning-environments-for-developing-a-foundation-in-financial-literacy