Students dismal on finance -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students dismal on finance

April 8, 2004

Albany -- If money talks, many high school seniors may not be getting the message. The Federal Reserve says the financial know-how of high school students is "dismal." We checked to see if South Georgia students taking financial education could pass the test.

Ms. Milner's money management class at Albany High School is learning how to read a power bill, and if the charges are totaled correctly.

Milner says it's practical education. "How to take care of checkbook, how to make sure they are getting paid correctly, how their bills are being paid, budgeting their money, and income tax and things like that."

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has long advocated more financial education for American students. Every year the Fed tests high school seniors on common finance questions. Nationwide this year students answered less than half the questions correctly.

We gave Ms Milner's class a sampling of that test. One of the questions, Kevin has nine thousand dollars for college, and starts next year. What is the safest way to keep his money. A-bank savings account B-Corporate Bonds C- Stock Market D- in his closet. The correct answer is A, the bank saving account, and Ms. Milner's entire class answered correctly.

 In the sample test, most of the money management class answered three of four questions correctly, much better than the national average. Ms. Milner said she is not surprised. "No this is a good group. These are very smart young people."

 The money management students agree that learning finance in high school is a good idea. Nasekia Jackson said "It's teaching us how to do everything. About reconciling. How to write bank statements, how to go back and look and see what you missed, just in case you get ripped off."

 Lilac Lee said she agreed most high school student's parents take care of all the money, and don't teach them how. "Do you think most kids in this school know how to write a check or how to balance a checkbook? No."

Only four states require students take a course covering personal finance in order to graduate. Georgia is not one of them.

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