WEWS TV/NewsNet 5
By: Leon Bibb
September 9, 2010
High schoolers learn lessons of dollars and cents
EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio - When I was in high school, my finances centered on a few coins jingling in my pocket. In those days, we called the few nickles rubbing together in trouser pockets "lunch money."
The knowledge of how to pay bills, write checks, and save for the long-term future was as far away from me as was algebra, which was also a struggle. Eventually, I got the handle on algebra before high school graduation, but the knowledge of money came even after that.
At Shaw High School in East Cleveland, there is a big push to teach students there about financial literacy. The program, called "Smart Money Matters," is part of a course in personal finance which has grown out of the new Ohio education standards.
When the program was kicked off at the high school on Thursday, business people from throughout Greater Cleveland, state and local government officials, and educators were on stage, speaking to the students about the importance of learning how to make money and use it.
East Cleveland schools plans to use what it calls "simulated" money in the coursework.
"Students will be given an occupation and they will be given simulated money to spend, and apply, and to bank, and to invest, and do all thee kinds of things," said Myrna Loy Corley, superintendent of the school system.
Bankers were also on the stage and in the audience. With other business people, they were cited as role models to whom the students could look.
"These are people who have educated themselves and who are paid for they work they have the abilities to do," said a teacher, stressing the need for the students to continue their educations so the are able to financially provide for themselves in adulthood.
"If we can education our young people, it gives us a better opportunity and have good financial habits for adults," said Newton Burris, a spokesman for the the treasurer of the state of Ohio.
With so many Americans in deep financial debt -- hundreds of thousands of them facing foreclosures on their homes -- state, local, and education officials understand the importance of teaching the nation's young the importance of money handling.
The program at Shaw High School in East Cleveland shows that students are interested in learning about finances well beyond the lessons they may have already learned about "lunch money" in the school cafeteria. What they will learn in the classroom about credit, debit, checks, salaries, and all the other subjects associated with the world of work will help them the rest of their lives.