Free financial workshops to be held across state in June, July

Jeanette A. Tucker, Baker, Petrie  |  6/5/2008 12:15:56 AM

News Release Distributed 06/05/08

Louisiana high school teachers who want to learn how to teach their students about money management will have opportunities from the LSU AgCenter. The free workshops are open to the public as well.

The High School Financial Planning Program will be offered in nine cities on seven dates in June and July. Training is scheduled for June 17 in Lake Charles, June 30 in Baton Rouge, July 1 in Bossier City, July 9 in both Luling and Covington, July 15 in both Crowley and West Monroe, July 17 in Oak Grove and July 23 in Alexandria. Advance registration is required.

Most Louisiana high school students don't know much about managing money, according to LSU AgCenter family economics professor Dr. Jeanette Tucker. For that reason, the LSU AgCenter has arranged an educational program for the teachers so they, in turn, can help their students.

The summer workshops 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," Tucker said, adding, "Financial management lessons also fit the curriculum requirements for several other high school courses, including mathematics, family and consumer sciences, business, business math, economics and Junior ROTC."

"Teachers who take part this summer will be better able to teach personal finance," Tucker said. "We're covering topics that free enterprise teachers and many other teachers are specifically required to teach, like earning 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 co-sponsoring the workshops, Louisiana teens correctly answered only 47.2 percent of questions on basic financial topics related to taxes, retirement, insurance, credit and budgeting.

"Young adults are leaving schools without the ability to make critical financial decisions affecting their lives," Tucker said, but she notes that positive behavior comes from financial education.

During the workshops, the LSU AgCenter will train teachers in using the National Endowment for Financial Education's revised High School Financial Planning Program. The noncommercial, research-based curriculum is made available at no cost to public and private schools nationwide.

"This curriculum addresses each of the required topics and has been benchmarked to meet state curriculum standards," Tucker explained. Professionally designed and created by content specialists and educational consultants and delivered by seasoned financial educators, the workshops offer clear and easy-to-grasp, yet comprehensive lessons in personal finance that apply to everyday life.

"The classroom-tested materials are written in language that teens can relate to and provide real-life learning experiences," Tucker said.

Evaluation of a sample of Louisiana students who received instruction in the High School Financial Planning Program shows 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.

Many teachers already have registered for the free seminars, according to Tucker, but spaces are still available.

Teachers also can earn continued learning units (CLUs) that apply to their careers.

To register contact Petrie Baker in the LSU School of Human Ecology at (225) 578-6701.

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: Petrie Baker at (225) 578-6701 or pbaker@agcenter.lsu.edu 
Contact: Jeanette Tucker at (225) 578-5398 or jtucker@agcenter.lsu.edu

Editor: Mark Claesgens at (225) 578-2939 or mclaesgens@agcenter.lsu.edu

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