Saturday, January 26, 2013

A comprehensive student and consumer protection resource is a comprehensive consumer and student protection resource. It is full of video hooks, useful games, and informative articles. The site is a partnership between a number of federal government agencies. It is an ideal site for teachers to share with students and parents.

Click here to visit 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Pictured above is my 4th grade son at Dr. King's birthplace, a summer trip experience he requested. When we walked through the museum he could give me the stories and details behind almost every picture and major artifact. He chose Dr. King for his 2nd and 3rd grade book report. I asked him why and he told me that "Dr. King fought for people who couldn't fight for themselves."

Every American kid should understand this. Let's make sure our students know Monday is not a day off, it's a day to honor one of the greatest people who has ever lived.

A video hook for innovation

Tomorrow I will use this video clip in two separate classes tomorrow. I am going to use it in my AP Macroeconomics class as an anecdote of how technology can push the PPC curve outward. I will also use it in my General Business class as prompt for an entrepreneurship activity.

There are probably a lot of ways you can use this. One thing is for sure, if we want our kids to think outside of the box it helps to show them clips like this one.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hey kids, here's how to build your credit score. BTW - avoid the Bieber Card!

This week credit expert John Ulzheimer wrote an outstanding piece to high school kids explaining the most effective way to build a credit score. John is clearly one of America's leading credit experts. He is commonly relied on by FOX News, the New York Times, and other major media outlets when they need an expert opinion for a credit story. Here is an excerpt of his piece...

Happy Birthday, you’ve just turned 18. Maybe you got a car for your birthday. Maybe your parents are throwing you a great party. Whatever your gift happens to be, it’s unlikely that you’re thinking about your credit scores…although you should be. Now that you’re 18 you’re what I refer to as “fair game”, which means lenders can ramp up their attempts to get you to start a relationship with them. That “relationship” can be to take out a credit card, open a small credit building loan or something else. Regardless, you’re about to become “in the system” and doing it the right way will pay dividends for the better part of the rest of your life.

Click here to read the remainder of his piece and his advice.

Along those lines, Justin Bieber announced this past weekend a high fee pre-paid debit card. Click here to watch to John on FOX Business talk about the disappointing fees associated with Bieber's card. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

7 resources to integrate financial literacy into Math

Budget Challenge [currently free] is a teen financial literacy program that simulates the financial life of an adult. Think of Budget Challenge as a road test to personal finance. Students are in the drivers’ seat as they immerse into the financial life of a recent college graduate who has been working for about six months. Each student gets a regular paycheck, a checking account, a 401(k) savings account and bills to pay throughout the simulation. By maximizing 401(k) savings, paying bills on time and responding correctly to quiz questions while avoiding fees like late fees, overdraft fees and finance charges, students increase their individual score.

Money Matters is a project of the Center for Mathematics and Quantitative Education at Dartmouth and the Financial Literacy Center. These modules complete with video hooks are a perfect way to integrate financial literacy skills into math lessons. The financial literacy topics include: Earning; Spending; Saving and Investing; Planning for Retirement Now.

Money as You Learn offers educators tools to integrate personal finance into the teaching of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts, as well as into other classes and after-school programs. Developed by the Working Group of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability [full disclosure, I was a member], This approach can both provide students with essential personal finance understandings and skills and strengthen teaching of the Common Core through meaningful, real-world contexts and applications. It can also enhance the cross-cutting skills such as problem-solving, research, and analysis called for in the Common Core. [Many thanks to Jump$tart for providing the resources for the project.]

Mathalicious lessons teach standards-based math through real-world topics that students care about. Each Mathalicious lesson contains information on which Common Core State Standards are covered in the lesson. The Common Core Mathematical Practice Standards are integrated throughout all Mathalicious lessons. Lessons address several standards so that you’re able to address more math in less time, and with better results.

Money Math is a full math curriculum aligned to middle school math standards with the application of personal finance concepts. It was developed by the US Treasury, University of Missouri St. Louis, Citi, and Jump$tart.

Financial Education in the Math Classroom, the Math Forum @Drexel's site is designed to showcase valuable problems and tools.

Bankrate has a financial calculator for just about everything, and they can be applied to a number of mathematical concepts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My New Year's Wish

My New Year's wish is for our country to provide all of our kids with the financial concepts and tools they deserve to make wise and informed financial choices.

The average household income for the bottom 90% of American families is $29,840. Knowing this, it's not hard to understand why 85% of parents want a stand-alone course in personal finance to be a high school graduation requirement. Our families want help for their kids, yet we continue to ignore them. Only four states require a stand-alone course in personal finance as a high school graduation requirement.

Every kid deserves a fair shot. By failing to equip them with the financial literacy skills and concepts they need to make informed financial choices, we are not giving them a fair shot. We are certainly not doing everything we can to close the inequality gap. As this research indicates, there is a direct correlation between an inequality of financial education and economic inequality.

The coursework I am alluding to is not just what they will need in the future, it is often what they need right now. For example...

• We are asking our children to make one of the biggest debt choices of their lives while still in high school, student debt. Student debt has now surpassed credit card debt - - it is $1 trillion. We owe it to our kids to incorporate resources like this one and this one in our classrooms to make sure they are making an informed college choice.

• Lots of high school students have jobs and pay taxes, but don't know how to fill out basic tax forms or file for themselves. It is time we begin integrating resources like this one so they understand how to manage their taxes.

• According to this research, the biggest mistake low-moderate income (LMI) Americans make is they do not have any emergency savings, often because they are unbanked. It baffles me that we do not teach our kids the importance of savings, or the power of compound interest using resources like this one.

• Many high school students are purchasing cars on their own, without any direction. We owe it to them to provide resources like this so they can make an informed choice.

• Of those who carry a balance on their credit card from one billing cycle to the next, the average credit debt is $15,418. When our high school students turn 18 they are eligible for a credit card (with stipulations), and if used wisely it can be a great tool for them to build their credit score. If used inappropriately, it can ruin their lives. It is time we start to teach kids to understand credit card solicitations and their credit bills using resources like this one.

• A lot of our high school students have trouble figuring out what career field would be a good fit for them. Resources like this one are very helpful, and we owe it to them to expose them to this information.

Let's make 2013 the year we commit to teaching to the whole child.