SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required one-half credit high school course with financial literacy instruction; Financial literacy standards in most K-8 social studies standards; Michigan Merit Exam
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
Michigan Merit Curriculum requires a one-half credit in Economics for high school graduation. The law also states that “the ½-credit Economics requirement may be satisfied by completion of at least ½-course credit in Personal Economics that includes a Financial Literacy component… if that course covers the subject area content expectations for Economics.” In the High School Content Expectations: Social Studies, there are six standards under the Personal Finance strand for the Economics course, meaning each student is exposed to financial literacy instruction prior to graduating high school.
2002 Act No. 111 (House Bill No. 5327) amended Educational Code to mandate that “the department shall develop or adopt, and shall make available to schools, one or more model programs for youth financial education. A program under this section shall be designed to incorporate financial education throughout the curriculum for grades K to 12 and shall be based on the concept of achieving financial literacy… Each school district… is encouraged to adopt and implement the model financial education programs.” Although personal finance should be embedded into its K-12 standards, Michigan’s updated 2019 Social Studies K-12 Standards do not extensively cover personal finance. Grades K-4 and 6 have economics sections which relate somewhat to personal finance. Personal finance is thoroughly covered in the high school economics standards.
Michigan assesses personal finance statewide through the Michigan Merit Exam, in which all 11th graders must take the M-STEP Social Studies with personal finance standards.
Michigan receives a “C” for ensuring some financial literacy instruction, through embedded standards in the required high school economics course as well as through some K-8 social studies standards. The required state-wide assessment of financial literacy in the M-STEP also ensures instruction. Michigan must require a stand-alone high school personal finance course and create financial literacy standards for the grades that do not currently have them in order to raise its grade to an “A.”