SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: K-12 financial literacy standards; Financial Literacy website
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
Kansas requires “concepts of economics” for high school graduation. The Kansas Standards for History, Government, and Social Studies: Economics includes Personal Economics/Personal Finance as one of seven units; however, “the specific content contained in these units is not mandated, but is made available as a suggested grade level scope and sequence to assist in the planning of local lessons and units.” Leaving the content to the discretion of local schools fails to ensure all students receive financial literacy instruction.
In Kansas State Statutes, it is mandated that “the state board of education shall develop state curriculum standards for personal financial literacy, for all grade levels, within the existing mathematics curriculum or another appropriate subject-matter curriculum.” The Kansas State Department of Education has officially adopted the Jump$tart National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education as the Kansas financial literacy K-12 standards. The standards are recognized in Business, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mathematics, and social Studies. “The National Jump$tart standards are used as a guide for instruction. They are indicated for Kindergarten, 4th, 8th and 12 grades, however should be referenced to determine all K-12 financial literacy instruction to determine grade appropriateness.”
Also, in the same statute, it mandates that “the state board of education shall include questions relating to personal financial literacy in the statewide assessments for mathematics or social studies.” It is unclear how financial literacy is tested in the statewide assessments. The Mathematics and ELA standards for which the Grades 3-8 and 10 statewide assessments are based do not include financial literacy.
The Kansas State Department of Education has a Financial Literacy website “to offer support to local districts concerning personal financial literacy instruction for K-12 schools.” It houses the information on the Jump$tart standards and includes a financial literacy resource list. In 2021, the Kansas legislature passed HB 2039 which would require both a civics test and “for grades 10, 11, and 12, a personal financial literacy course to be at least one semester or two quarters in length. The bill requires the offered course to include, but not be limited to, the following topics: 1) Saving and investing; 2) Credit and debt; 3) Financial responsibility and money management; and 4) Insurance, risk management, and income." However, Governor Laura Kelly vetoed the bill stating legislative overreach.
Kansas receives a “C” for ensuring some financial literacy instruction through the adaptation of the Jump$tart standards. Instruction is not guaranteed in high school, as the embedded financial literacy standards are not mandatory. In order to receive an “A,” Kansas needs to clarify specific financial literacy standards for Grades K-8 and require a stand-alone high school personal finance course.