High School Ranks Number One in Financial Literacy
By Jasmine Bager
Held during National Financial Literacy Month, The New York Stock Exchange Euronext hosted the second annual “100 Best W!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance” awards at their headquarters on Wall Street. With almost 1,000 schools involved from 34 states, Passaic County Technical Institute’s (PCTI), NJ, earned the top spot this year. Two other New Jersey schools placed in the top 30, as did nine from New York State. Other top schools came from Indiana, Utah, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Nebraska, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois and South Carolina.
“We created the Financial Literacy Certification Program to address the chronic lack of financial literacy among young people,” said Phyllis P. Frankfort, president and CEO of W!se. “It is imperative that all students receive personal financial education before they graduate high school, so they have the knowledge and skills to help break the cycle of poverty, make wise financial decisions and be on a path to financial wellbeing.”
Now in its 11th year, the award-winning program provides teachers with a curriculum and instructional resources to teach personal finance and to measure student knowledge. It is the first such ranking in the country and aims to prepare students for the “real world” by teaching them to become financially literate. Participating schools administer W!se’s standardized Financial Literacy Certification (CFL) Test to its students. Teachers have access to training, educational resources, pre-tests, and online practice tests. Developed in 2003, the program has expanded nationally and has been widely recognized for its success, including the US Treasury Department’s John Sherman Award for Excellence in Financial Education. So far, 678 students have been certified in the last five years. “Our Initiatives are built on five pillars—relevancy, real world experiences, strong partnerships, volunteerism, and evaluation,” according to W!se.
Ryann Carlson, who received a perfect score when she took the test while a student at Lake City High School, Coeur d’Alene, ID, has since graduated and is now an aspiring educator, enrolled at the University of Missouri. Current High School for Math, Science and Engineering senior, Max Drogin, represented NY students. Both Carlson and Drogin explained that the course—and test—taught them how to budget and to ask themselves, “Is this daily cup of coffee at the cafe really worth it?” They both stated that the financial knowledge gained from the instructors was useful, not just for their resumes, but also because they were “financially illiterate” before joining the course.
Knowing that high school gymnasiums across the US are decorated with sports banners, which are visual measurements of success, W!se handed out banners to each winning school in attendance. Bruce Kasman, chief economist, managing director and head of economic research, JPMorgan Chase served as keynote speaker and Duncan L. Niederauer, president of IntercontinentalExchange Group and CEO, NYSE, and James Abry, chief financial officer, SCP Worldwide and vice chair at W!se, also spoke to the audience.
Dr. Charlotte Frank, senior advisor, research and development at McGraw-Hill Education, Michael Breit, partner at EisnerAmper LLP, both on the W!se board of directors, presented awards to the top schools. Steve Wheeler, director of education at the NYSE and Deborah Smith, senior VP community affairs manager, at Wells Fargo Foundation, presented additional awards. #