Miner Editorial | Financial literacy is important, we should encourage it in our schools
“What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”
In order to solve this question, we first have to ask ourselves is this a Monty Python reference or a question on a high school physics exam?
And then we have to ask ourselves, who cares?
How is this going to help make a monthly budget for 2019? How is this going to help pay student loans, car loans, rent, mortgage and for groceries this paycheck? How is knowing the airspeed velocity of anything going to help students learn how much money to put away in a savings account?
Well, it isn’t.
That’s why, despite however fun trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of a swallow might be, high school students need a financial literacy course.
Luckily for students of Kingman, steps have already been taken to encourage a financial class in our high schools.
Kingman High School, Lee Williams High School, and Kingman Academy of Learning High School all offer financial literacy courses. At KHS and LWHS, these courses can be substituted for a math credit, four of which are required to graduate.
So instead of taking Advanced Placement Physics, students could replace that credit with a financial literacy class.
At KAOL, this class is mandatory and does not count as a math credit, which means students have to take four math credits in addition to one financial literacy credit.
Kingman is coming out ahead of the state in that regard.
Arizona State Senator Rep. Rusty Bowers is sponsoring House Bill 2354 that would require high school students to take a financial literacy course in order to graduate. The bill also proposes, “The governing board may approve a financial literacy course that would fulfill a mathematics course required for graduation from high school.”
This bill is a fantastic step forward for the state. While Kingman has already taken steps to start implementing financial literacy courses, the same can’t be said of other schools in the state. And it is important that we encourage this bill moving forward.
Calculus and trigonometry, while noble pursuits, aren’t going to help our children in the “real world.” Knowing how to calculate the missing angle of a triangle or tracing the rate of change of a series isn’t going to help a fresh graduate from high school balance a checkbook or understand student loan payments or credit score.
Calculus, algebra, statistics, physics and trigonometry are useful. They help teach complex mathematics and by proxy complex thinking and patience. They are worthwhile to study in order to understand more about the world. But they are not going to be something that is useful to all of our students.
Not everyone is meant to go to college, not everyone is going to have to satisfy the required math credits to get a degree, and certainly not everyone is going to choose complex mathematics as a career path.
However, just about everyone is going to need to know how to spend and earn money. How to make a budget, pay rent, pay car loans are everyday life problems that our students have to know how to conquer.
And our Kingman students are leaps and bounds ahead of the state in that regard. The school districts, both KUSD and KAOL, are doing wonderful things by offering these courses.
Now we just need to encourage everyone to get on board.