Fitch launches financial education classes

Yesterday State Treasurer Lynn Fitch and the Mississippi Council on Economic Education (MCEE) launched a new teacher training program to better equip Mississippi teachers to successfully teach skills that will improve financial literacy for high school students. It is part of Fitch’s Treasurer’s Education About Money (TEAM), the public-private partnership that she developed to bring free financial education resources into Mississippi schools. MCEE is an integral partner in TEAM.

“I am very excited that TEAM is taking this next step in teacher training and couldn’t be happier to have MCEE, the premier source for educating educators in personal finance, leading it,” said Fitch.  “In TEAM’s first three years, together, we trained more than 1,200 teachers across the State, giving them the tools and resources to not only teach classes in personal finance but to incorporate financial education into their classroom activities in other ways, as well.  The Master Teacher of Personal Finance program takes the training to the next level and fine-tunes these skills for the high school classroom.”

Fitch added that the class will teach students basic skills like balancing a check book, understanding mortgages and even student loans.

“People are compassionate about this issue in our state,” Fitch said. “Unfortunately our state is number one in poverty, we are number 48 or 49 in teaching personal finance to our students and our workforce, so everybody rallied together. These partners came together and said we want to be a part of the team, we want to get our children educated and get this implemented.”

She said that students who have taken the course in Mississippi during the trial period were able to increase their personal finance knowledge by 92% when taking the course.

“Whatever they choose to do, this is the cornerstone of their success,” Fitch said. “Whatever venue, platform, or job they choose to be in, they have to be empowered by money and not be afraid of it.”

Selena Swartzfager, President of MCEE, said The Master Teacher of Personal Finance program gives Mississippi high school teachers an extra set of tools in their toolbox for teaching personal finance.

“It deepens their knowledge of the topics and broadens their understanding of applying them in the best possible way to reach high school students with lasting impact,” said Swartzfager.

The Master Teacher of Personal Finance program is aimed at educators who teach business, personal finance, college and career readiness, and economics classes.  The training curriculum was developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis – Memphis Branch and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – New Orleans Branch.  Thirty teachers will attend this inaugural weeklong training session at Millsaps College.

Over the course of the last year, Fitch’s office and MCEE have been working with the Mississippi Department of Education on a new financial literacy curriculum that will be required for high school graduation. This will make Mississippi one of only 18 states in the nation with a high school requirement for personal finance.

The Master Teacher of Personal Finance program will give teachers the support they need to successful teach this new course.  This new College and Career Readiness class will roll out in pilot schools in the 2018-19 School Year before being implemented statewide.