Free workshops for money management teachers start across state in July

Linda Benedict  |  6/12/2009 1:50:03 AM

News Release Distributed 06/12/09

Educators who want to learn how to teach high school students about money management may take free workshops from the LSU AgCenter during July. The workshops are open to high school teachers, home school parents, youth group organizers, church youth leaders and the public.

Youth Financial Educators Workshops will be offered in 10 cities on seven dates in July. Workshops are scheduled for July 7 in Crowley; July 8 in Baton Rouge; July 9 in Bossier City, Covington and Luling; July 16 in Metairie and West Monroe; July 21 in Opelousas; July 23 in Lake Charles; and July 30 in Alexandria. All sessions will be conducted from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Advance registration is required.

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. For that reason, the LSU AgCenter has arranged these educational workshops for 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. Financial management lessons are linked to 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 make financial management relevant to their students" Tucker said, explaining. "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."

The workshop topics support the Louisiana Department of Education’s College and Career Readiness initiative, she said.

According to results of a 2008 national survey conducted by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, which is co-sponsoring the workshops, Louisiana teens correctly answered only 45.3 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 High School Financial Planning Program. The noncommercial, research-based curriculum is made available at no cost to educators and students nationwide.

Participants will be introduced to additional interactive curricula and resources including the online “Money Talks” curriculum and the “Welcome to the Real World” experiential learning module. Free copies of “Money Jeopardy” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” computer-based learning programs also will be provided.

"The classroom-tested materials are written in language that teens can relate to and provide real-life learning experiences," Tucker said. Participants will enhance their personal and professional knowledge and skills.

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, complete the online registration form or contact Petrie Baker in the LSU AgCenter’s 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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Editor: Mark Claesgens

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