LSU AgCenter offers teachers financial management classes

Mary Ann Van Osdell, Boutwell, Mary Virginia, Tucker, Jeanette A., Stephens, Cynthia  |  7/22/2009 9:12:19 PM

News Release Distributed 07/22/09

WEST MONROE, La. – Louisiana teachers learned about teaching money management to high school students at a workshop presented by the LSU AgCenter July 16.

The session was one of 10 Youth Financial Educators Workshops the LSU AgCenter is presenting this summer. Two remaining classes are set for July 23 in Lake Charles and July 30 in Alexandria.

Several studies suggest most Louisiana high school students don’t know much about managing money, according to LSU AgCenter family economics professor Dr. Jeanette Tucker. That has prompted the LSU AgCenter to conduct these educational workshops for teachers so they, in turn, can help their students.

“The Legislature now requires teachers to include information on personal finances as part of the free enterprise courses Louisiana students must take,” said Ginger Boutwell, LSU AgCenter agent in Franklin Parish.

Financial management lessons are linked to the curriculum requirements for several other high school courses, including mathematics, family and consumer sciences, business, business math and economics, Boutwell said.

According to results of a 2008 national survey conducted by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, a workshop cosponsor, Louisiana teens correctly answered only 45.3 percent of questions on basic financial topics related to budgeting, taxes, retirement, insurance and credit.

With the average credit card debt per borrower at $5,710 and college students carrying an average credit card debt of $1,035, Boutwell offered teachers lesson plans that included making a budget, avoiding unnecessary purchases, paying on time, building savings and going over your credit report.

The workshops used materials from the National Endowment for Financial Education’s High School Financial Planning Program. The noncommercial, research-based curriculum is made available at no cost to educators and students nationwide.

Other program partners include the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and participating land-grant universities, which include the LSU AgCenter, the Credit Union National Association and individual credit unions.

The workshop also uses additional interactive resources, including the online “Money Talks” curriculum and the “Welcome to the Real World” experiential learning module. Participants also are provided with free copies of “Money Jeopardy” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” computer-based learning programs.

The Real World exercise, which is offered by the LSU AgCenter in Louisiana, students make decisions on transportation, housing, insurance, food, clothing, utilities and entertainment with replica paper checks to use to pay “bills” during the exercise.

Wanda Murphy of Claiborne Christian School in West Monroe said she has gotten positive feedback from parents for offering a similar lesson.

“Life experiences are eye-openers,” Murphy said.

Sladen Mohl from Rayville High School said he came to the workshop because as an ROTC instructor he is required to include financial management in the curriculum.

Sheri Ashley, a banker turned teacher in Oak Grove, said teaching has time constraints, and she wanted the best information possible for her students. And Joan Turek of Parkway High School in Bossier City said the lessons would help her show students how to plan for college.

Jackie Farrington of Carter Federal Credit Union in Springhill attended as a representative of its student services department. She said she works with 4-H groups and others about how to save.

“I wish every credit union taught this,” said Cynthia Stephens, LSU AgCenter agent in Ouachita Parish.

The workshop also was open to youth group organizers, church youth leaders and the public.

Carol Ledford of Vidalia said she has taught financial math the last few years but also can apply what she learned to help her community. Her husband is a pastor who is often getting requests for assistance.

“I can help these people shop better,” Ledford said.

Boutwell said teachers are welcome to contact her at 318-435-7551 to arrange a Real World session.

Mary Ann Van Osdell

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