Sen. Sandra Cano

We would like to believe that every adult knows how credit cards work or how to balance a checking account, but sadly, we know this is not the case. We live in a complex financial time where this knowledge is necessary to succeed in life. So, why do some adults lack the knowledge about how to manage money and credit?

Simply, these adults where never taught these lessons as children and teenagers. Some never had access to these lessons at home for a multitude of reasons, and more importantly, most of these adults never had financial literacy classes at school.

If all of our children are not receiving proper financial knowledge at home, which we know is the case, it is our duty to teach them these crucial and valuable life skills at school.

Recently, the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College graded every state on “their efforts to produce financially literate high school graduates” and the results were troubling. Only five states received an “A” and none of those five states was Rhode Island.

Instead, we received an “F” and the report signified that we as a state are failing to properly prepare our children for a financially successful adult life. This is unacceptable and our children deserve better.

Reading, science, math, languages, and history are all important areas of study for our children to understand and apply later in life. This is the reason why each of these subjects is taught in all of our schools. Yet, financial literacy is just as important to navigate the complexities of adult life as these other school subjects and it must be included in our school’s curriculums.

36 other states already require financial literacy classes to be integrated into high school curricula statewide and only about 1/3 of Rhode Island’s high school graduates are being exposed to financial education.

It is time for Rhode Island to join the majority of the other states in our country so that we stop failing our children by sending them out into the world without these basic tools. Their future success depends upon us to educate and prepare them for the world and this is not possible without teaching them financial literacy.
Sen. Sandra Cano is a Democrat representing District 8 in Pawtucket. She is the sponsor of legislation (2019-S 0112) which mandates that financial literacy classes be taught to all students in the public high schools throughout the state of Rhode Island.