March 30, 2023
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Visits Personal Finance Class and Addresses Benefits of Financial Literacy for Students
BERKELEY—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond met with students at Berkeley High School today to discuss the benefits of financial literacy and personal finance courses. Superintendent Thurmond is working to make sure elective classes like these are taught at all California high schools with his financial literacy bill, Assembly Bill 984 (McCarty), co-sponsored with California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, which would make personal finance and financial literacy a high school graduation requirement.
Students spoke about what they have learned in the class and how it has helped them make financial decisions. They also shared their support for making personal finance courses available to all high school students.
“Young Californians are entering the workforce and higher education with very little understanding of financial literacy. This is deeply concerning, since students with higher financial literacy are more likely to invest in a savings account, prepare for retirement, and manage their debt,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “Access to financial literacy is also an equity issue that is directly reflected through racial wealth gaps. Only 27 percent of California high school students attend schools that offer personal finance classes. Ensuring that all young Californians have exposure to financial literacy is a vital step in closing inequality gaps and providing the skills and resources to improve their lives overall.”
Research shows that students who have access to high-quality financial education have better financial outcomes as adults that result in less debt and a higher quality of life. This is why the California Department of Education partnered with California-based nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance to provide teacher stipends and professional development for financial literacy. Last August, Superintendent Thurmond announced that he secured $1.4 million in private funding for teachers in California high schools to receive professional development courtesy of Next Gen Personal Finance so they can teach financial literacy.
State Superintendent Thurmond was joined at the event by Tim Ranzetta, co-founder of Next Gen Personal Finance; Enikia Ford Morthel, Superintendent of Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD); Laura Babitt, President of the BUSD School Board; and Crystal Rigley, personal finance teacher at Berkeley High School.
Superintendent Thurmond’s funding builds on the $3.5 billion Arts, Music, and Instructional Materials Discretionary Block Grant to county offices of education, school districts, charter schools, and the State Special Schools that can be used to expand financial literacy course offerings. The one-time grant is available for encumbrance through the 2025–26 fiscal year and is allocated on a per-pupil basis.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100