SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: High school and middle school financial literacy instruction required; K-8 financial literacy standards by grade bands; 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
In order to graduate from high school, New Jersey students must complete 2.5 credits (equivalent to a half-year) in Financial, Economic Business, and Entrepreneurial Business Literacy. Students can complete this requirement “by completing a stand-alone, half-year course” or “by completing one or more elective courses that integrate the content and skills required,” both being “taught by staff holding a Social Studies; Business: Finance, Economics, and Law; Comprehensive Business; Comprehensive Family and Consumer Sciences; General Business certificate; or Math certificate.” Local districts can determine how and in which year or years the course will be delivered as well as if it will be an online or seat-time program, or both. Also, local districts are “responsible for assessing and publicly reporting on the progress of all students in developing the knowledge and skills specified by the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, including civics, financial literacy, and all content areas not currently included in the Statewide assessment program.” New Jersey Student Learning Standard 9.1 outlines specific Personal Financial Literacy standards that should be met by the end of Grade 12 through this requirement.
New Jersey Student Learning Standard 9.1 also specifies Personal Financial Literacy standards that should be met by the end of Grades 4 and 8. Districts were required to align their K-12 curriculum to these standards by September 2015. Furthermore, New Jersey Chapter 176 (A1414), which was enacted on January 3, 2019, requires “that a school district incorporate in each of the grades six through eight financial literacy instruction,” legislating the middle school financial literacy requirement.
The State of New Jersey Department of Education also provides financial literacy resources, including model curriculum, on the New Jersey Student Learning Standards 21st Century Life and Careers webpage.
Because it guarantees some financial literacy instruction through the high school graduation requirements and the standards for the end of Grades 4 and 8, New Jersey receives a “C” in financial literacy instruction. New Jersey should mandate that the high school graduation requirement can only be met through a stand-alone personal finance course and create grade-specific financial literacy standards for Grades K-8 to raise its grade.