SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required high school financial literacy instruction; Financial literacy standards in most K-8 standards; Task Force to Study How to Improve Financial Literacy in the State and Financial Literacy Advisory Council; 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
Maryland does not have any specific high school graduation course requirements which ensure financial literacy instruction. Effective September 2011, Maryland’s local school systems must have implemented a financial literacy program of instruction. “Each local school system shall provide personal financial literacy curriculum documents for the elementary and secondary schools under its jurisdiction that include and align with the State curriculum as developed by the Maryland State Department of Education in collaboration with local school systems.” The financial literacy programs of instruction must be certified every five years. At the time of the publication of the 2019-2021 Maryland State Department of Education Personal Financial Literacy Education Annual Report, seven of Maryland’s 24 school systems had a local graduation requirement for personal finance. The remaining systems had personal finance integrated into a course which is required for high school graduation, meaning every Maryland student is receiving financial literacy instruction prior to high school graduation.
In 2008, Maryland Chapter 187 and 186 (House Bill 1242 and Senate Bill 533, respectively) created a Task Force to Study How to Improve Financial Literacy in the State to “study the current ability of high school students to understand basic financial concepts,” “evaluate the current provision of financial literacy education in Maryland’s public schools,” and “assess the utility of financial literacy education as part of primary and secondary education.” Following the task force’s recommendations, the State Superintendent of Schools created “a Financial Literacy Education Design Team to develop financial literacy education content standards- statements about what students should know and be able to do” as well as a “Financial Literacy Advisory Council to oversee the work of the design team and help leverage resources.” The design team created content standards to serve as the framework for Maryland’s personal Financial Literacy State Curriculum. The Maryland State Curriculum for Personal Financial Literacy Education is based on the Jump$tart National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education and Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Personal Financial Literacy and is “designed to assist educators in developing and evaluating curricula that will align with the standards, indicators, and objectives.” There are six standards strands for Personal Financial Literacy, each with differing standards broken into Grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 bands. The specific way the standards are implemented and taught is left to the discretion of the local school districts.
The Maryland State Department of Education has a website with financial literacy resources and links available for parents and educators.
Although Maryland has financial literacy standards for Grades 3-12 and requires each high school to implement a financial literacy instruction program, Maryland receives a “C” for financial literacy instruction. Maryland needs to create financial literacy standards for Grades K-2 and mandate that the high school financial literacy program be a stand-alone personal finance course.