SUMMARY OF GRADE
Significant Accomplishments: Required high school financial literacy instruction; Adopted Jump$tart K-12 Financial Literacy standards; Financial literacy resources
Needs Improvement: Needs to require high school stand-alone personal finance course and implement grade-specific K-8 financial literacy standards
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
The state of Vermont adopted Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements, beginning implementation with the graduating class of 2020, in which local districts determine their high school graduation requirements based on the standards adopted by the Vermont State Board of Education. “A student meets the requirements for graduation when the student demonstrates evidence of proficiency in the curriculum outlined in 2120.5, and completion of any other requirements specified by the local board of the school attended by the student.” One of the required curriculum areas is Financial Literacy. The Vermont State Board of Education provides “sample financial literacy grade-banded K-8 and 9-12 performance indicators and Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements which can be implemented in an interdisciplinary manner.”
The Vermont State Board of Education adopted the Jump$tart National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education in January 2018. According to the Board of Education’s website, “The Agency of Education is working with the Center for Financial Literacy and Vermont educators to align the Jump$tart Standards to performance indicators, proficiency-based graduation requirements (PBGRs) and student-centered learning… It is expected that the SU/SD instruct and assess financial literacy concepts based on the standards. How that is accomplished is locally determined.” The standards can be met in social studies, math, business, family and consumer science, and through flexible pathways. Currently, 13 of Vermont’s 55 supervisory unions/supervisory districts require Financial Literacy as a graduation requirement.
The Vermont Agency of Education provides a list of sample financial literacy resources for “elementary school generalists or content-focused high school or Career and Technical Education teachers” on their website.
Because Vermont provides financial literacy benchmarks for kindergarten, 4th, 8th, and 12th grade ensuring that students receive exposure to personal finance concepts throughout their school career, Vermont receives a “C” in financial literacy instruction. Vermont should require for graduation the completion of a stand-alone personal finance course in all schools as well as developing grade-specific standards in order to improve its grade.