SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: High schools required to offer Personal Finance elective; Minimal K-8 financial literacy standards; Piloted Mississippi College and Career Readiness Course
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
Beginning with the incoming freshman of the 2018-2019 school year, students must complete a one-half credit Economic course. Little personal financial literacy concepts are found integrated in the Social Studies standards, which contain the Economics strand. However, high school students may receive personal finance concepts when choosing the Business Management and Administration, Marketing, and Finance cluster. Courses in Business Fundamentals contain Personal Finance content that is “aligned to the 2004 Mississippi Personal Finance Framework Revised Academic Benchmarks.” However, as of 2019 all Mississippi high schools must offer a one-half credit Personal Finance elective. Public high schools may offer a one-half unit in Financial Technology, Resource Management, or National Endowment in lieu of Personal Finance. Personal Finance, which is an elective that can be taken during 9-12th grade, has standards that robustly cover financial literacy. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has also developed a curriculum guide for the Mississippi Personal Finance elective, which is aligned to both national and Mississippi standards.
In the Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards for the Social Studies-2018, there is an economics strand for each grade, K-12. The guide explains that the strand, which integrates economic reasoning into K-12 curriculum, helps students in “demonstrating an understanding of economics and financial literacy in order to make informed financial decisions throughout their lives.”
Mississippi piloted a Mississippi College and Career Readiness Course in the 2018-2019 school course. In the curriculum for the course, financial literacy is one of eight units, providing extensive personal finance instruction. The unit is based on the Council for Economic Education National Standards for Financial Literacy as well as the Jump$tart National Standards and was developed with the help of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education.
Mississippi receives a “D,” as it ensures a small amount of financial literacy instruction through the K-12 social studies economics strand and the requirement to offer the Personal Finance high school elective. In order to raise its grade, Mississippi needs to make the Personal Finance course a requirement for each student rather than optional and should create financial literacy grade-specific standards for the economics strands.