SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required high school course with financial literacy standards; Financial Literacy webpage
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 receive a South Carolina high school diploma, a student must complete a one-half credit of economics. In the South Carolina Social Studies College- and Career-Ready Standards, the standards for the required economics course are entitled Economics and Personal Finance. There are four strands of standards for the course, and one is Personal Finance. The Financial Literacy Instruction Act of 2005 (Act No. 38; House Bill No. 3020) mandates that “the State Board of Education shall develop or adopt curricula, materials, and guidelines for local school boards to use in implementing a program of instruction on financial literacy within courses currently offered in high schools in this State.” South Carolina offers two optional courses within the Human Services Cluster, Financial Fitness 1 and Financial Fitness 2. Each class has its own set of standards that provide robust financial literacy concepts. These courses are available for high school students, providing the opportunity to learn Financial Literacy.
Financial literacy concepts are not embedded in the South Carolina Social Studies College- and Career-Ready Standards for K-8, except for 2nd grade, where the concepts can be found in the Economic strand.
In accordance with the Financial Literacy Instruction Act, the South Carolina Department of Education has a Financial Literacy webpage with Curricula, Instructional Materials, and Personal Finance Resources.
There is pending legislation that would require a standalone Personal Finance course. Senate Bill 16 would ”amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 59-29-17 so as to require completion of certain basic Personal Finance coursework for high school graduation instead of existing Economics coursework requirements.” This bill passed the South Carolina Senate on February 23, 2021 and at the time of publication had been referred to the Committee on Education and Public Works in the South Carolina House. Passage of this bill would improve South Carolina’s grade and positively impact students’ understanding of personal finance concepts across the state.
South Carolina provides minimal financial literacy instruction through embedded standards in the required high school economics course, earning a “D.” In order to improve its grade, South Carolina needs to create specific financial literacy standards for Grades K-8. Furthermore, South Carolina should ensure that high school financial literacy is taught in a required stand-alone course rather than embedded into multiple courses.