SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: High schools required to offer financial literacy elective; Some K-8 financial literacy 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
Previously, Florida required a one-half credit economics course for high school graduation. The course, Economics with Financial Literacy, contained personal finance components and instruction. However, in May 2019, Florida passed House Bill 7071, which removes financial literacy from the required economics course and instead mandates that all schools offer a financial literacy course as an elective, beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. The bill was signed by the Governor in June 2019. While this change was intended to provide more concentrated financial literacy instruction as a stand-alone course, in reality, it results in less students being exposed to financial literacy. In the past, every student, regardless of which courses they chose to take, received some financial literacy instruction through the required economics course. However, now, even though each school offers a financial literacy course, each student will not receive financial literacy instruction unless they choose on their own to take the elective course.
Florida has an extensive legislative history regarding financial literacy instruction. Bills which would make a stand-alone personal finance course a high school graduation requirement have been considered, and even passed by one of two chambers, in recent years. The late Senator Dorothy L. Hukill, who passed away in fall of 2018, sponsored many of the bills and made financial literacy instruction a major priority. In 2019, Senate Bill 114, which would similarly add a personal finance course for graduation, was named the “Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act” in honor of the senator’s efforts in financial literacy. The bill died on calendar in May of 2019.
Regarding K-8 standards for financial literacy, Florida has implemented some financial literacy standards but not to the extent that a student receives financial literacy instruction each school year. Under the Social Studies standards, financial literacy is a strand for Grades 4, 8, and 9-12. Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards mandate that “Social Studies standards must establish specific curricular content for… financial literacy.”’
Florida receives a “C” for only guaranteeing financial literacy instruction in some grades. Its current financial literacy social studies standards need to be amended to create standards for each grade. Also, in order to receive an “A,” Florida needs to pass the legislative mandate it has considered in the past to mandate a required high school stand-alone personal finance course.