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Kentucky Teachers Get Lesson On Financial Literacy Law

Stu Johnson

Close to a hundred teachers gathered at Keeneland Tuesday for a financial literacy workshop. The day long program was designed to help educators K through 12 incorporate more financial literacy instruction in the classroom as required by a new state law.

Eastern Kentucky University Economics Professor Cynthia Harter believes, over time, such teaching could help students graduate from college with less debt. “If we can start even with very young children talking more about decision making and then showing them how it applies to financial decisions then we will have students who are making smarter decisions on various aspects of life including debt for college,” said Harter. 

Harter, who heads Eastern’s Center for Economic Education, admits a credit card mentality is a hard thing to break in the U.S. While the recession period from 2007 through 2009 saw credit card debt decline, Harter says today it’s at a higher level than prior to the great recession. Harter says Americans live in a consumer society where people want what they want when they want it whether they have the money for it or not. 

Ben Riley is a kindergarten teacher in Eminence. He says financial literacy can be incorporated into early grades. For a lessen related to climate change, Riley says he gives his students ten dollars to work with. “They buy supplies for me to build experimental shelters to protect their penguin, which is an ice cube from the sun, which is a heat lamp. But, they have to work together as a team to figure out what is the budget friendly and eco-friendly to that,” said Riley. “And they have to collaborate at five and six years old to solve that problem.” 

Riley gave a presentation at the Lexington workshop on project-based learning. He says financial literacy can be addressed in creative ways.

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