Rep. Cartwright Introduces Legislation Promoting Financial Literacy

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright reintroduced the Financial Literacy for Students Act with the support of 29 colleagues.

The Act would create incentive grants to states who agree to provide financial literacy education in Title I public elementary and secondary schools.  Additionally, the legislation would allow for significant flexibility, creativity and innovation in the integration of financial literacy and entrepreneurship education into existing curriculums, as well as encourage appropriate professional development for teachers for the teaching of financial literacy.

“Consumer sophistication on financial matters has never been more important than it is in today’s economy,” said Cartwright.  “The key to improving the financial literacy of all Americans is ensuring that our students have access, at all appropriate stages of their education, to formal financial literacy education.”

One national organization that is already focused on financial literacy educations is Junior Achievement (JA).  JA provides K-12 students with experiential, hands-on programs focusing on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness.  Its programs are typically delivered during the school day by a volunteer from the local business community.  Students learn critical life skills such as how to create and use a budget, how to start and run a business, and how to succeed in the workforce. 

JA currently reaches more than 4.5 million U.S. students annually including over 10,000 throughout northeastern Pennsylvania, with an office based in Pittston.

Melissa Turlip, President of Junior Achievement’s NEPA Chapter applauded the legislation, “Junior Achievement supports an increased focus on financial literacy education for our nation’s students.  Money-management skills are critical to students’ success as adults.  Too often, young people must learn how to manage their finances through trial and error.  JA is dedicated to empowering young people to own their economic success, and supports this bill.”

Under current law, individual states are left to create and implement financial literacy education curriculum and courses in their districts and schools.  As a result, only six states require the testing of student knowledge in personal finance.  Only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course (or require that personal finance be included in an economics or civics course) as a high school graduation requirement.

“As we work to prepare our students for the 21st century workplace, a consistent approach to financial education in our schools will help our students entering college and the workforce be well-prepared and ready to make sound financial decisions,” said Cartwright.

Supporting Organizations:

Junior Achievement, Popular Community Bank

Rep. Matt Cartwright represents Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District, which includes Schuylkill County and portions of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, and Northampton Counties.  Cartwright serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.