Financial literacy

MCPS to make recommendation Tuesday on financial literacy course requirement

On Tuesday, Montgomery County Public Schools officials are expected to recommend to the school board whether a financial literacy course should be required for high school students before graduation.

In October, student board member Hana O’Looney asked the district to explore requiring high school students to take a half-credit course on concepts like filing taxes. , applying for student financial aid, and understanding credit scores.

She said it was the “most common” request from students she speaks with.

In the months since, the idea has been widely welcomed by community members, who say “real-world” skills are essential for students to prepare for college or a career.

The school board will consider district staff’s recommendation on Tuesday. The meeting is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Documents from the meeting were not released Friday afternoon, so the expected recommendation was not publicly known.

In January, MCPS staff members provided a report to the school board indicating that it is possible to require the financial literacy course, but that would mean reducing the number of credits required in other areas or increasing the number of credits needed to graduate.

The report says the requirement could be made possible by:
• Increased number of credits required for graduation from 22 to 22.5
• Decreased elective credits by 0.5
• Decrease the physical education requirement by 0.5 (MCPS currently requires full credit, which is more than the state requires).

The report also indicates that the school board should consider the possible consequences of the move, including:
• Its impact on students’ ability to pursue other courses of interest to them
• Staff implications
• How would this affect the number of students “at risk of not graduating”. For example, according to school board documents, 1,138 seniors this school year are taking a full schedule of classes required for graduation.

Alternatives to making the course mandatory would be to increase access to an elective course for high school students; give lessons in a mathematics course; or develop “modules” that are not credited but are required for graduation, similar to the state requirement that students complete a minimum of 75 hours of service learning to graduate. diploma.

O’Looney, however, insisted that course content should not be optional.

At the January board meeting, she said: “Honestly, as a school system, I don’t think our job is done with our students and we can say with confidence that our students are truly ready. for college, career, and community until they have those basic fundamental skills.”

The meeting agenda lists the topic as a discussion item, not an “action item,” which means no final action is expected.

If the school board ultimately decides to mandate a financial literacy course, the requirement would start with the class of 2028.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com