Saturday, August 27, 2011

Financial Education - In the Middle School

I have read numerous blogs debating the most appropriate place for a financial education. Should it be in high school, middle school, or in elementary school? Should it be left to the parents? My answer is: 'All of the Above'. Therefore, I believe the best approach to a great financial education is a collective approach.

My responsibility at Reading Community City Schools is to teach Personal Finance (among other business courses). With that said, I have volunteered my time to help provide curriculum suggestions in the elementary and middle schools. We have also done an inter-disciplinary lesson between the high school and third grade students. You can read more about each of these examples by visiting our student-run financial literacy organization:

I would argue that our school board and administration has embraced the responsibility of a financial education as well as any school in the country. Our school board and administration have time and time again demonstrated their commitment to financial education, beginning with making my stand-alone personal finance course a high school graduation requirement. Our latest commitment is the development of a stand-alone middle school personal finance course. In the past few weeks, I have spent quite a bit of time putting together curriculum for the instructor who has embraced the course with open arms.

I used Jump$tart's national standards to pull together a number of resources to support the curriculum including Bizworld, NEFE, Junior Achievement, and the Dave Ramsey curriculum. I am excited about each of these resources, and most eager for the students to participate in the Council for Economic Education's Gen i Revolution. The online simulation is an ideal tool for concluding a middle school course, just as the Awesome Island Game is. (Note - because it is my game we are going to have the students first experience it with me in the high school).

As I said earlier, appropriate parental involvement is also an important path toward a well-rounded financial education. Fortunately, parents have incredible financial education teaching tools at their disposal. Personally, I prefer MoneyTrail, FamZoo, Family Mint, and Sammy the Rabbit. My favorite financial education author is Dan Kadlec. These are the resources I feel most comfortable recommending to our families to use with their own children, which we will be doing in the upcoming weeks.


  1. I am a big supporter of the "All of the Above" approach to financial education also. Parents, teachers and community working together can absolutely make a positive impact. Thanks so much for including MoneyTrail in your list of resources for parents!

    Another great author is Clark Howard. "Clark Smart Parents, Clark Smart Kids" has a tremendous amount of helpful advice and ideas for parents and kids.

  2. Brian, I completely agree with your "all-of-the-above" answer for effective financial education. Kudos to you for your creative and persistent efforts in this area. I look forward to hearing how your middle school course goes. Best of luck!


    P.S. Thanks for the nice mention of!

  3. Brian -
    What a great post! I echo the kudos for your "all-of-the-above" approach. From talking with the teachers I work with, I've certainly learned that even 3rd graders are interested in take-home pay versus salary (see:
    Thanks for your ongoing efforts in this area, keep up the good work.