Financial District

Project

Finance

What is Project Finance

From retirement savings to credit scores to even relationship outcomes, financial literacy education has a wide range of ramifications in people’s lives. Currently, Montgomery County is letting down its constituents by not only offering personal finance classes at less than 20% of all high schools, but by also not making financial literacy a graduation requirement. For these reasons, InnovateX has started Project Finance; an initiative dedicated to pushing the Board of Education to follow other Maryland counties and states across the country in requiring students to take a one semester financial literacy class.

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How can I help?

Fill out the student survey:

Tell us about your experiences with personal finance in a written testimony.

Check out this sample curriculum to see how much financial literacy you know:

Send an email to the MCPS Board of Education:

If you take a financial literacy course or know teachers that do, ask your teachers to fill out this form:

Advocate for Financial Literacy to the MCPS Board of Education with this step-by-step guide:

Want to join? Become a student ambassador for Project Finance!

Learn more about Project Finance in our policy paper:

As a student attending Montgomery County Public Schools, check to see if your school offers financial literacy courses and how many people are enrolled:

​Are you a teacher that believes in the importance of financial literacy? Please help support our cause "Project Finance" to push the Montgomery County Board of Education to require students to take a one semester financial literacy class!

Get involved by filling out our quick teacher survey

Encourage your students to fill out our student survey

Current situation

THE PROBLEM

  • One in three high school graduates and will be fully reliant on financial literacy education received in high school (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Over 40% of Americans have said that they do not have any retirement savings 

  • 16% of all American consumers who have a credit score between 300 to 549 suffer from worse housing, career, relationship, and communication outcomes

  • 5.2% reported they had been turned down from a job due to a lack of financial knowledge (National Financial Educators Council)

Reasons why Financial Literacy Matters 

  • "Financial education is the best mechanism for increasing financial literacy for everyone; especially those who aren’t being taught financial skills at home."

  • "Providing financial education in schools is the most effective way to achieve widespread financial literacy."

  • "Financial literacy rates directly affect the financial health of individuals, families, communities, and the country, giving us all a stake in the level of education being taught to our children."

Curriculum

In order to meet state standards, Montgomery County incorporates its personal finance lessons into its government courses. To supplement teachers' lessons, the county includes an Everfi Curriculum for teachers to utilize. However, teachers are allowed to choose whether or not to teach it, so many students end up never learning personal finance throughout high school because there isn’t enough time for it. 

Students enrolled in financial literacy courses

Montgomery Blair High School

57

Springbrook High School

93

Thomas S. Wootton High School

157

Walt Whitman High School

135

Winston Churchill High School

282

 

Our Proposals

Implement a one semester personal finance graduation requirement in Montgomery County

Implement a one semester personal finance elective course

Create a MYMCPS personal finance module

Provide a personal finance Montgomery County course

What we are working on right now

Student Form responses

Reaching out to Board of Education members

Teacher interviews

Board of Education Testimony

Calls with personal finance non-profit leaders

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Meeting with the 2021 SMOB candidate Hana O'Looney

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What students think

From over 290 responses to our student form

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"As a first generation American, the lack of financial literacy has had a large impact on my family and my parents. My dad moved to the United States after finishing college back in Thailand, our home country. As an immigrant in the US, he did not know where to start. All he had was a few dollars in his back pocket. He struggled to earn any money, and it was difficult for him to build a stable foundation. Without the proper financial knowledge, he was unable to quickly find a home and start a modern life. Even after starting a new family, we all did not live in the greatest condition. Slowly, without much financial literacy, our family grew and developed to eventually become financially stable. To avoid this struggle, the implementation of a personal finance high school graduation requirement will help future generations build a strong foundation. They will learn how to manage income and maximize profits, which will help them sustain themselves in college and in their future careers."

What teachers think

Teacher interviews were conducted with numerous MCPS high school teachers who decided to remain anonymous. A few concerns were raised: 

“Current county financial literacy standard is embedded into the social studies curriculum, meaning that students are ‘exposed’ to financial literacy through one unit. However, there is no requirement of demonstrated knowledge.” ​

“Currently the county expects that students will eventually learn financial literacy in college so it isn’t taught in high school, but oftentimes college students do not learn it, despite their increased independence. This leaves too much work for the individual to do themselves and a lack of necessary support for them.”