Teachers Can Get Lessons In Finance This Summer

Jeanette A. Tucker, Merrill, Thomas A.  |  6/17/2006 12:22:28 AM

News Release Distributed 06/16/06

Don’t know much about managing money? Most Louisiana high school students don’t, so teachers may want to boost their knowledge – and the LSU AgCenter is offering opportunities for that.

Through a series of educational programs being offered across Louisiana again this summer, the LSU AgCenter is helping teachers learn more about financial management so they, in turn, can share what they’ve learned with students during the coming school year.

The workshops being offered during July are part of an ongoing effort to help Louisiana high school students become more financially literate.

"State law now requires teachers to include information on personal finances as part of the free enterprise courses Louisiana students must take," explains LSU AgCenter family economist Dr. Jeanette Tucker. "Instruction in financial management also fits the curriculum requirements for several other high school courses including mathematics, family and consumer sciences, business, business math and Junior ROTC."

To assist teachers in having the tools they need to provide that instruction, the LSU AgCenter will offer nine workshops at various locations this summer. Teachers can attend the one-day workshop that is most convenient for them between July 5 and July 25.

"The teachers who take part this summer are enhancing their capacity to teach personal finance," Tucker says. "We’re covering topics free enterprise teachers – and many other teachers – are specifically required to teach like income, money management, spending and credit, and savings and investing."

According to results of a 2006 national survey conducted by the Jump$tart Coalition For Personal Financial Literacy, which is cosponsoring the workshops, Louisiana teens correctly answered only 47.2 percent of questions on basic financial topics related to taxes, retirement, insurance, credit use and budgeting.

"Young adults are leaving schools without the ability to make critical financial decisions affecting their lives," Tucker stresses. "Studies show positive things result from financial education, because that helps students develop and apply real-life financial concepts."

During the workshops, the LSU AgCenter will train teachers in using the National Endowment for Financial Education’s High School Financial Planning Program in their classrooms. The endowment also is a cosponsor of the workshops.

"This curriculum addresses each of the required topics and has been benchmarked to meet state curriculum standards," Tucker explains.

The LSU AgCenter expert also said the program teaches basic financial planning concepts that apply to everyday life, and the curriculum used is available at no cost to public and private schools nationwide.

"It is an innovative, hands-on curriculum that provides interesting, contemporary learning materials that will teach students to identify and prioritize their personal money management styles, develop and use budgets, track income and spending to stay within their budgets, understand and calculate the costs of using credit and protect their assets as they begin to accumulate money," Tucker says.

Evaluation of a sample of Louisiana students who have received instruction in the High School Financial Planning Program has shown a significant knowledge gain. Students posted the greatest knowledge increase in learning how to create and follow budgets, a critical financial management skill. Other significant gains were noted in knowledge about insurance, saving and investing, credit and the relationship between career factors and earning potential.

Workshop participants also will be introduced to other free or low-cost curricula including the Stock Market Game and Junior Achievement Programs.

Many teachers already have registered for the free seminars, according to Tucker, but she stressed there is still space available for teachers who are interested.

In addition, the LSU AgCenter expert said teachers who participate can apply for "continued learning" units (CLUs) that apply to their careers.

"The seminars we’re offering are free and open to the public, but advance registration is required," Tucker stresses. "Although the first seminar is coming up soon, our goal is to have people registered two weeks in advance of each seminar."

The seminars will be offered July 5 in Alexandria; July 11 in Bossier City, Crowley, Covington and Metairie; July 13 in Baton Rouge; July 20 in Lake Charles and Metairie; and July 25 in West Monroe.

To register or to learn more about the locations, visit www.huec.lsu.edu/hsfpp or contact Jeanette Tucker or Donna Shaffers at (225) 578-6701 for additional information.

The National Endowment for Financial Education will provide each participant with a 400-page instructor’s manual and a 115-page student workbook free of charge. Additional workbooks also may be obtained for each student at no cost.

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Contact: Jeanette Tucker at (225) 578-6701 or jtucker@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer/Editor: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or tmerrill@agcenter.lsu.edu

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