SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required high school economics course with embedded financial literacy instruction; financial literacy standards in most K-8 social studies standards
Needs Improvement: Needs to require high school stand-alone personal finance course and implement grade-specific K-8 financial literacy standards
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
In Arizona, students are exposed to financial literacy through the one-half credit Economics course required for high school graduation. 2019 Arizona Chapter 84 (Senate Bill 1184) amended state code to mandate that “the state board shall require at least one-half of a course credit in economics, which shall include financial literacy and personal financial management.” Previously, Arizona code stated that the board “may consider the establishment of a required separate personal finance course for the purpose of the graduation of pupils from high school.” The Arizona Department of Education includes “Financial Literacy/Personal Finance including but not limited to budgeting, saving, spending, investment, credit, banking, and insurance” as one of the five topics to be covered in “a comprehensive economics course.”
2013 Senate Bill 1449 amended Arizona code to mandate that “the academic standards prescribed by the state board of education in social studies shall include personal finance” in high school. Currently, the Economics strand, Financial Literacy/Personal Finance, is covered by standards in Grades 1-3, 5-6, 8, and high school, according to the Arizona Department of Education’s 2018 History and Social Science Standards. In 2021, Senate Bill 1636 removed the termination date for the state seal of personal finance proficiency program, which recognizes students who “graduate from a school operated by a school district or a charter school located in this state and who have attained a high level of proficiency in personal finance.”
Arizona receives a “C” for ensuring some financial literacy instruction in high school through an embedded economics course and in most of K-8 instruction through social science standards. In order to raise its grade, Arizona must ensure financial literacy instruction in each grade, K-12, through adding financial literacy standards in the grades not currently covered and through requiring a stand-alone personal finance high school course.