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Financial Literacy for Youth: Every Penny Counts

Jessica Slusser originally penned this piece on Getting Smart. MIND Research Institute has heard many experiences similar to Jessica’s that express a disturbing lack of financial literacy in today’s youth. Stories like Jessica’s help to explain why MIND Research Institute has teamed up with The PwC Charitable Foundation Inc. to apply the proven Spatial Temporal (ST) Math approach to financial concepts and teach the math skills required to achieve financial literacy.

Many moons ago, in my past life as a banker I got to learn first-hand about the lack of financial literacy for youth and even adults. Maybe because my first “career” was in banking I picked up on it quick, but I was blown away to see so many people unaware of what debt means, how to build credit, how to balance a checkbook and budget. It’s an important skill for all of us to have after we leave school and as we prepare for college and career.

As of November 2014 the average household credit card debt is over $15,000 and that’s not counting auto loans, home loans and the much familiar student loan debt. Poor credit can be detrimental to your future but thankfully there are a number of ways to avoid it. Unfortunately there’s a lack of education around debt and many other key financial concepts for our youth.

For that reason I’m thankful for The PwC Charitable Foundation Inc.’s $3.2 million dollar gift toimprove financial literacy for youth through game-based instructional software. PwC has partnered with visual game-based math creator MIND Research Institute to bring the first financial literacy curriculum using the proven  ST Math approach and will help transform how students learn important financial concepts.The innovative program will also simultaneously teach math skills required to achieve financial literacy.

Students in grade six through eight will learn to solve challenging problems related to saving, investing, planning, home buying, money management, credit vs. debit and insurance. The challenging curriculum will teach students how they can use math models to answer financial questions like “what will actually happen to my monthly debt payment if my interest rate goes up?” The new program is sure to help students develop and practice skills necessary to make sound financial decisions in the future, an important component of college and career readiness.

Over 40 states have implemented K-12 financial literacy standards and many online resources have shown up to help educators meet these new standards. PwC recently reported> that school districts’ investments in educational resources for use by their students and educators are very small when you compare that to their investment in a technology infrastructure. PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. is sure that their investment in MIND’s financial literacy program will be one step toward changing that.

"Continuous innovation, especially through technology and digital-based tools, is how we are going to transform, revamp and retool students’ understanding and practical application around financial capability,” said Shannon Schuyler, principal, corporate responsibility leader, PwC and president, PwC Charitable Foundation, said in a press release issued by MIND Research Institute.  “We are proud to deepen our relationship with the MIND Research Institute to break new ground in this new and necessary phase of education.”


Since 2009 PwC and MIND Research have partnered to help solve the U.S. math crisis. Through this initiative PwC has helped bring ST Math to thousands of students in high-need schools across the country. Thank you PwC for your constant commitment to students and math instruction!

 

Read More about the Youth Financial Literacy Program

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MIND Research Institute welcomes guest blogs that highlight best practices in math education, blended learning and innovative learning strategies that inspire students at all ages.

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