(Image Source: Montgomery County Public Schools)
Several high school students in Montgomery County, Maryland testified in support of a financial literacy graduation requirement at a Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) meeting on Tuesday, October 26th. The requirement would include learning how to file taxes, comprehending credit scores, and applying for student financial aid.
Hana O’Looney, the Student Member of the Board, proposed the resolution, voicing the collective concern about how students wish their “learning was more relevant and applicable to their lives.”
O’Looney’s resolution involves exploring the possibility of offering a 0.5 credit financial literacy course that would be required for students in the graduating class of 2028. Interim Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight is expected to provide a report to the Board of Education about this proposal no later than January 2022.
The BOE allotted time for public comments, where residents were given the choice to either provide in-person, virtual, or written testimony. Students from eight different MCPS high schools testified in support of the financial literacy proposal.
Katie Yuan, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School and the founder of InnovateX, a student-led non-profit organization that aims for personal finance reform, stated, “Not every student has the luxury of having mentors to teach them or the time to teach themselves the basics while balancing school and job responsibilities.”
Many students testified about their own personal experiences, mentioning the lack of accessibility to learning basic life skills in the MCPS system.
Hana Frank, a junior at Thomas Wootton High School, emphasized how she has yet to learn how to fill her taxes or gain an understanding of the purpose of a credit score.
“I have learned about mathematical limits, imaginary numbers, and the in-depth chemical process of photosynthesis - things that will likely have little use to me in my chosen career of public service,” said Frank.
MCPS currently offers a financial literacy course in five high schools, yet only around 200 students register every year.
During the meeting, the Board of Education also acknowledged National School Bus Safety Week, National Native American Heritage Month and Day, and National School Psychology Week before moving onto public comments.
The Montgomery County Board of Education will hold their next business meeting on November 9, 2021 to discuss public comments. All information regarding the agenda can be found on the BoardDocs.