Students in seven Maryland school districts are already required to complete a financial literacy course.
Montgomery County’s school board will address the subject at its meeting on Tuesday, and Prince George’s County will be added to that group in the 2023 school year.
In January, school officials briefed the board on what would be required to add the course to the credits already required for students to graduate.
At the time, Maria Tarasuk, who works in Montgomery County Public Schools’ Department of Curriculum and Instructional Programs, informed board members, “This decision is not just a simple yes or no.”
Tarasuk indicated that in order to graduate, 22 credits are currently necessary, leaving two possibilities.
“One option would be to simply add the graduation credit requirement and increase the overall number of credits required to 22.5” Alternatively, she noted, the present number of credits may be maintained by removing a credit from another study area.
Hana O’Looney, a student member of the board of education, reminded her colleagues at the January meeting that “paying taxes is not an optional thing in life,” and that knowing how to negotiate finances should not be either.
She also suggested that school administrators poll recent graduates to find out what they wish they had learned in school.
Board member Scott Joftus requested that administration personnel contact some of the other school districts that require the course to see how it is going.
“It would absolutely move me if they responded, ‘Yes, this is the best thing we’ve ever done,’” he added.
He also stated that if other school systems had terrible experiences, he would like to know about them.
According to Tarasuk’s estimates from the January conference, over 1,000 MCPS students were already falling short of the credits required to graduate.
Board member Lynne Harris speculated that some of those students may have been enrolled in courses that did not appear to be beneficial to them. She said that financial literacy “is exactly the kind of learning that I think a student who has been perhaps a little bit disengaged would find value in.”
The subject will be discussed during the meeting on Tuesday. It is not listed as an action item for a vote on the agenda.