Maryland Del. Jay Walker testifies in favor of state legislation to make financial literacy a requirement for high school graduates. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Maryland Del. Jay Walker testifies in favor of state legislation to make financial literacy a requirement for high school graduates. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

ANNAPOLIS — Del. Jay Walker walked to the table, placed down his folders filled with documents and testified on the importance of financial literacy in all Maryland high schools.

The Fort Washington Democrat has attempted to implement such as policy in seven of the past eight legislative sessions since 2012.

“I’m not giving up. We’ve been working on this for a while. The time is right to do what’s right,” he said Friday, Feb. 14 before the House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee.

According to the bill, all school boards would be required to create content for a half-semester course in financial literacy for every public high school. More succinctly, “a student shall complete a course in financial literacy in order to graduate.”

The Council for Economic Education of New York City recently released a “Survey of the States” report, which shows that while all school systems include some form of financial education in kindergarten through 12th grade, Maryland, along with and 25 other states and D.C., doesn’t require high school students to take an economics course.

In Prince George’s County, middle school students can receive an interactive, hands-on experience at the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Landover. After completing coursework and modules, they take a field trip to the building and stop at makeshift storefronts to balance a budget and choose whether to purchase a home, a vehicle and even health insurance.

When entering high school, economic courses are offered as an elective.

Jean-Paul Cadet, director of career and technical education for the school system, said clubs such as Future Business Leaders of America provide additional learning opportunities for students.

“There are a number of things we want our children to learn and we only have a set amount of time with them,” he said. “We make sure we present the best catalog of options for them to pick. We try to push the things that we believe that will be most impactful to them and make sure those things are in the forefront.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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