New Financial Literacy Class Offered This Year At Frederick County Public Schools

It use a computer simulation to teach students how to manage money.

Frederick, Md (KM) A new financial literacy course has been launched this year for seventh graders in Frederick County Public Schools. “It is actually budget simulation for the students,” says Norm McGaughey, Coordinator of Career and Technical Education. “And they’ll have sort like a Finance Friday. So every Friday they’ll be working through a monthly simulation.”

McGaughey says with this simulation, students will make a lot of decisions regarding money that they will probably face as adults. “They have to pick where they want to live; their bills they have manage. And they earn points based upon how well they save, what their credit score is and their quality of life,” he says.

This course is embedded in the “Life Skills and the Family” class. It was developed by SkyPoint Federal Credit Union.

Part of the course requires students to make some of the same decisions their parents make when it comes to managing money. “Something’s going to happen and they have to decide: are they going pay that bill using their credit card; or are they going use that bill and looking to pay with their debit card which will take money from their savings,” he says.

“The major categories it’s really going to hit on is credit cards; home budgeting; car loans; savings, of course; your total net worth; and then it does talk about taxes,” McGaughey continues. “Students actually deal with W2 and realize that what I make is not what I take home.”

McGaughey points that is one of several financial literacy classes provided by Frederick County Public Schools. He says they have been well received by students. “You  can’t believe the level of knowledge that the seventh graders already had with that. And, of course, that continues in high school with our business courses. And Frederick County does require a point-5 financial literacy credit in high school.”

He says the whole point of these courses is avoid the mistakes some adults make it comes to money, such as two out of three families have no emergency fund. “We want our students in Frederick County to be the one out of three families. To be the 22-percent that doesn’t live paycheck to paycheck. The two out of five adults that do maintain a monthly budget. So that’s just important for us,” says McGaughey.

Using the, students take part in “Finance Fridays” where they learn about these money management skills. The first Finance Lab will presented on Friday, September 15th at Middletown Middle School, and then progress to the 12 other middle schools in the county.

By Kevin McManus