For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, DC (April 12, 2023) – Today Councilmember Robert White introduced the Financial Literacy Education in Schools Amendment Act of 2023, which would create a financial literacy program for DC Public Schools (DCPS) high school students. This bill requires DCPS to develop a financial literacy course as an elective for DCPS 11th and 12th graders.
White introduced this bill to coincide with the Council’s unanimous designation of April as Financial Literacy Month. This is an opportunity to highlight the importance of a financially literate and prosperous District community. White said, “People tell me all the time how desperately we need financial literacy in schools, and every official says its important. Now, we need to get it done instead of just talking about it.”
In 2017, DC received an “F” on the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy national report card, which analyzes each state’s work to advance financial literacy for high school students. The lack of financial literacy is an issue of racial equity. In 2019, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discovered that the median white family had $184,000 in wealth compared to just $38,000 and $23,000 for median Hispanic and Black families, respectively. A 2021 Racial Equity Racial Wealth Gap Study published by the Council Office on Racial Equity found that “since many Black families in the District have fewer assets and less collateral, they are subject to high interest rates and predatory loan practices when borrowing money.” Financial literacy education decreases how susceptible people are to predatory practices and increases awareness of the long-term effects of saving.
“None of us instinctively knows how to budget, invest, use credit and prepare financially for college, the workforce, or retirement. We all need someone to teach us these important life skills,” said White. “My goal with this legislation is to make sure DC students get financial knowledge early on to level the playing field for students who may not have trusted adults sharing financial tools with them.”
White has introduced this bill two other times. The Committee of the Whole held a hearing in October 2022 where educators, students, and local credit unions and realtors’ associations testified in support.
Councilmembers McDuffie, Bonds, Nadeau, Allen, Trayon White, Pinto, Lewis George, Henderson, and Frumin co-introduced this bill.
Devon Haynes, Communications Director
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