While a few states are taking the initiative and requiring financial literacy classes for their students, lots of innovation is happening at the local level, like at this charter school in Illinois:
On a recent weekday morning, four students were busy popping 240 bags of popcorn in preparation for a dance at the charter school. They planned to sell the bags for 25 cents each, as they do once a month for students at the school. They use the money they earn to restock their supplies and to pay back the principal and interest on a loan they took out to buy the popcorn popper….
“We learn about organization, time management, supply and demand. They have checkbooks. They keep check registers as to where our money’s going,” [the teacher] said.
Programs like this one are a great start. Despite all the incomprehensible jargon surrounding the economic crisis, the basics of finance haven’t changed. These kids are getting an interactive introduction to concepts that will affect them their whole lives.
(But if you do want to understand the jargon, check out our credit crisis glossary.)