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McKnight & Chiaravalloti Bill to Teach K-8 Students Financial Literacy Approved by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angela McKnight and Nicholas Chiaravalloti (both D-Hudson) to require school districts in New Jersey to teach financial literacy to elementary and middle school students was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

“One of the most important lessons a person can learn is how to manage their money. Many young people go into adulthood knowing little about finances, and end up making decisions that cost them in the long run,” said McKnight, who sits on the Assembly Education Committee. “Teaching our kids early about the importance of managing their money and making sound financial decisions can prevent them from making costly mistakes and set them on the right financial path.”

“Many young people don’t understand the importance of being financially responsible until they’ve already taken a few missteps. These poor decisions can hurt their credit when they are branching out on their own and need it the most,” said Chiaravalloti. “We don’t expect them to be experts, but they should have a basic understanding of how money works and how it affects their lives. The earlier we instill this message, the better financial decisions they will make as adults.”

The bill (A-3396) would direct the State Board of Education to require school districts to provide financial literacy instruction to students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The instruction must meet the requirements established by the State board and must: be appropriate to, and reflect the age and comprehension of, the students enrolled in the particular grade level; and include content on budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance, investment, and other issues associated with personal financial responsibility as determined by the State board.

The State board must provide curriculum and sample instructional materials that may be used by school districts to support the implementation of the financial literacy instruction requirement.

The bill would take effect immediately and first be applicable to the first full school year following enactment.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Education Committee.