Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angela McKnight, Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Eliana Pintor Marin, Jamel Holley, Benjie Wimberly and Annette Quijano to require school districts in New Jersey to teach financial literacy to elementary and middle school students received final legislative approval from the Senate on Monday and now heads to the governor’s desk.
“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 (D-Hudson). “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.”
The bill (A-3396), which was previously approved by the Assembly, would direct the State Board of Education to require school districts to incorporate financial literacy instruction into the curriculum for students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade.
“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 (D-Hudson). “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,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex).
“The purpose of the instruction will be to provide elementary and middle school students with the basic financial literacy necessary for sound financial decision-making,” said Holley (D-Union).
“This is an added touch that will hopefully go a long way toward teaching young people how to make sound financial decisions as they get older,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen).
“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,” said Quijano (D-Union).
Under the bill, the instruction must 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 upon enactment and be applicable to the first full school year following enactment.