|Using the classroom to combat a common societal problem|
|Written by btnews|
|Wednesday, August 22, 2012 2:04 AM|
By David H. Lillard, Jr.
Elementary school teachers, the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission has a deal for you: The first 100 participants to sign up for an Aug. 25 financial literacy summit in Jackson will receive $50 gift cards from Amazon and all participants will receive $20 gas allowances.
Those incentives are great, but this free summit will also provide something far more valuable: Information you can use to help your students and their parents learn the importance of developing financial literacy skills. You will also receive tips you can apply in your own lives.
This summit is important because lack of financial literacy is a common problem among young and old in our society. Consider these statistics:
According to another 2010 survey by Sallie Mae and Gallup, 40 percent of parents with children under age 18 have not set aside money for college expenses.
And according to a 2006 report by Moebs $ervices Inc., 87 percent of Americans don’t even balance their checkbooks.
The commission has already taken several significant steps toward this goal, including successfully proposing a law that requires financial literacy to be incorporated into elementary and middle school curriculums statewide and establishing a clearinghouse where people can get information about financial literacy programs.
The Jackson summit, the second of its kind, is another key step toward fulfilling the commission’s mission. One summit has already been held in Nashville and others will be scheduled across the state in the months ahead.
Presenters will include faculty from the Center for Economic Education at the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Memphis Branch and the Jump$tart Coalition. The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System will also conduct a session for teachers on pre-retirement planning.
There are some who might argue that financial literacy is a subject best left to higher grade levels, but I disagree. There is evidence that financial literacy concepts are more easily learned at a younger age. Certainly, children who learn financial literacy skills are more likely to develop good habits that will benefit them throughout their lives. Additionally, the ability to reach parents and to begin the process of saving for college is better done when children are at a younger age.
Those are all reasons why I am strongly encouraging elementary school teachers to sign up for the summit, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Aug. 25 in the Wilder Student Union Building on the Lambuth Campus of the University of Memphis, 705 Lambuth Blvd. in Jackson.
Our teachers are on the front lines in terms of helping our children develop the skills they need to succeed in the modern world. I hope as many teachers as possible will take advantage of this opportunity.
David H. Lillard, Jr. is Tennessee’s State Treasurer.