Indiana bill proposes 'financial literacy' in schools

Indiana Sen. Brent Waltz (R)

Children are taught algebra and geometry in school, but are they being taught how to manage their money?

Financial literacy is more than a course to study at North Central High School. It's reality.

Aubrey Franklin is a making a withdrawal. Ana Gomez is making a deposit. Cameron Hemphill also has business to conduct at his credit union, which is located in the J. Everett Light Career Center. The branch is operated by the Financial Center Federal Credit Union.

"I like doing things on my own, be independent and not depend on my parents for things all the time," said Hemphill.

"It's a good experience because it actually makes them start to know how to do things on their own rather than getting out there and not knowing what to do and just starting a bank account for the first time," said Franklin.

Financial literacy will be a key issue in the next session of the Indiana legislature. State Sen. Brent Waltz, who has the endorsement of the Indiana State Teachers Association, wants to create course work for financial literacy for grades 6 through 12.

"A sixth grader might learn about how to balance a check book. You might have a senior in high school learning about college loans; a junior about credit card payments," he explained.

At North Central, students have someone to work with.

"They are not afraid to ask because they know me and they are able to come here and feel comfortable and learn the steps to managing their account," said Haylee Teeple, Credit Union.

"She actually came down to my cosmetology class to teach us about saving and buying because I am a shopaholic. She really helped me by saving money and by not buying stuff I actually don't need," said Ana Gomez.

Students also get the opportunity to intern at the Credit Union as well which teaches students about the business of banking.

"Just don't come up short with the drawer or you'll be in trouble," said Darius Latham.

The program is not exclusive to North Central. There is a similar program in place at Arsenal Tech, but the goal is the same: financial literacy.

About the bill:

Sen. Waltz will author a bill in the upcoming 2013 legislative session outlining and appropriating funds for financial literacy coursework for all public, charter and accredited non-public schools. Some key components of the bill include:

· Implementing financial literacy coursework for grades 6 through 12

· Establishing a task force to develop financial literacy guidelines and model curricula

· Creating a financial literacy grant fund to assist public schools in implementing financial literacy instruction