SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required high school stand-alone Personal Finance course; Financial literacy standards in some K-8 social studies standards
Needs Improvement: Needs to implement grade-specific K-8 financial literacy standards in grades 3-8.
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
Tennessee, unlike most states, requires a one-half credit of a stand-alone Personal Finance course for high school graduation, ensuring robust high school financial literacy instruction. Three years of JROTC may be substituted for the requirement if the JROTC instructor has completed the Personal Finance training. Personal Finance is an elective course in the Finance career cluster for Grades 9-12, and Tennessee provides standards for the course. This requirement ensures all Tennessee high school graduates have received robust financial literacy instruction.
However, personal finance is not fully embedded in the Tennessee Academic Standards for Social Studies for grades K-8. Grades K, 1, and 2 have Economics standards which cover personal finance concepts, laying a foundation for financial literacy instruction but not ensuring it in K-8 curriculum.
Tennessee does have a Financial Literacy Commission within the Department of Treasury whose mission is “to improve the lives of Tennesseans through financial literacy by providing innovative educational resources to Tennessee schools and families.” The Commission provides resources for students, families, and teachers. In 2021 the FLC was extended through 2027 by legislative action.
Tennessee receives a “C” for requiring a stand-alone personal finance course for high school graduation but not having personal finance standards fully embedded in K-8 standards, thus not guaranteeing financial literacy instruction from kindergarten through grade 12. By creating financial literacy standards in the Grades 3-8 social studies standards, Tennessee would raise its grade to an “A” for ensuring K-12 financial literacy instruction.