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- By Cathy Washer, Superintendent at Lodi USD

In the California History Social Science Framework for students in grade 12, Chapter 18 refers to the Principles of Economics. Lodi USD senior students are required to complete a semester course called, "Economics" that is based on the History Social Science Framework in order to graduate. In this course, students begin learning about economics from a personal perspective starting with personal budgeting and moving outward to their role in the world. Teachers use this opportunity to provide activities to guide students in the awareness of financial understanding. Many teachers use Financial Fridays as a way to develop financial literacy throughout the semester. Based on a financial identify chosen, students learn to develop a budget, pay bills, save money and invest. Students enjoy the activities and indicate the activities provide them insight into choices for their future and what they hope to accomplish.

With 54 schools and 30,000 students, and covering 350 square miles in the Central Valley of Northern California, Lodi Unified is the 30th largest school district in the state, and was the first to offer a two-day teacher training from California Jump$tart in 2016, to rave reviews. Here is an update on how their efforts have proceeded in the past two years:

  • Several elementary and secondary teachers voluntarily began including financial topics in the classroom almost immediately after the training.
  • The Board of Education has asked that all students receive training before graduation.
  • The required economics class currently includes about three weeks of instruction on financial literacy, via “Financial Fridays,” specific times that are set aside. For example, to cover Checking/Savings accounts, one teacher starts with a PowerPoint presentation and follows that with active learning--students research a financial institution; students practice writing checks and maintaining a check record.
  • The econ teachers are receiving training in personal finance teaching methods, and starting next year, their classes will be using materials from to synchronize their coverage of this important topic.
  • Two semester-long classes in personal finance receive math credits, one in the college-prep track and the other primarily in the alternative programs. Between 350 and 500 students take one of these courses per year.
  • Lodi has invited California Jump$tart to come back and present Financial Foundations for Educators to a whole new group of their teachers. We can’t wait!

Hope your 2019 is off to a terrific start. The end of January is a perfect time to start a budgeting process for yourself—there are three steps: first, take your bank statement and credit cards and see where your money went in January. Then make a budget for February—don’t forget to include your significant other if you are budgeting for a family. Repeat monthly. The two-page form here will help you considerably. We promise that after the first time, this process should not take over an hour!

Next, to move the needle on financial training in California’s schools: An exciting new effort, “Project Groundswell,” has been started by our national affiliate, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Starting Feb 4, you will be able to access a database to find out what your local high school is offering in personal finance subject matter. If your high school does not have data yet (and it probably won’t), please contact the administration and ask them the current status—the school has the capability to update the database. With enough parents calling their schools, that will start the conversation around the state! The site to access this will be posted on our website soon.

Even without a regulatory requirement, many districts are moving ahead. Read below for information about one success story, in Lodi, California. They started this process by asking California Jump$tart to come train the teachers in personal finance for their own sakes---we would be delighted to do the same for your district or county, at absolutely no cost to them. Let us know if we can help you make that happen by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Happy February!

- The California Jump$tart Coalition Board of Directors

In addition to CalCPA’s year-round Financial Literacy program offerings, we have traditionally offered a spring event that CAJ$ has co-sponsored or supported in some way. Over the years the target audiences have varied and the event titles have included Financial Literacy “Summits”, “FL Conference for Educators” and “FL Roundtables”.

In our most recent collaboration for 2017-18, we created “Smart Money Forums” with the intention to travel out to six established groups around the state rather than holding one event requiring people to come to us. The program design matured into being delivered in a variety of formats and to a variety of CA organizations/audiences that have not been our typical target audience.

As a result of this year’s CalCPA effort and CAJ$ co-sponsorship, we were able to increase the number of programs offered around the state. Some of the programs were also supported by the California & Nevada Credit Union Leagues where their local credit unions ran their “Bite of Reality” program. This combined support allowed six proposed programs to become ten. Thank you CAJ$ for your continued collaboration.

  • University of Redlands on October 20, 2017 – Supported by the “Bite of Reality” program – General students
  • University of the Pacific over a four-day period on October 30, November 1, November 6 and 8, 2017 – Incoming freshman students.? Supported by the “Bite of Reality” program.
  • ACAP, a minority based high School career program - held at Cal State University, East Bay on November 11, 2017.
  • YMCA of Orange County– employee financial literacy seminar on March 28, 2018. Topics included budgeting, setting and achieving financial goals.
  • Cal State University, East Bay on May 14 in conjunction with Senator Bob Wieckowski and with San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen – General students.
  • Women’s Shelter of Long Beach on May 9, 2018 – budgeting and saving financial literacy workshop for shelter clients
  • Larkin Street Youth Services– employee financial literacy training on May 15 & 22 and June 5 & 12, 2018.
  • Assembly member Shirley Weber sponsored a program on July 13 at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills on CPA careers and financial literacy during 2018 African American Leaders for Tomorrow Conference - Local high school students.
  • Kern County College Night on September 10, 2018 – Don’t be Swamped with Student Loan Debt - Local high school students.
  • Cal State University, Sacramento on September 19 – Six Keys to Financial Success for College Students – General students.

President's Adivosry Council is working on connecting PFL and Common Core:

From the July meeting minutes:

"We also are doing a deep dive into ways that we can promote the creation of pilots that align common core objectives and basic financial education concepts. In addition we are looking at how the two major consortiums created to assess common core learning's can help support this effort. We are having discussions with several organizations including the American Federation of Teachers as well as the Jump$tart Coalition to look for ways that we can encourage others who share our concern to work together to create opportunity"

Notes from the July PACFL meeting are at: Report.pdf

An Interesting Infographic on Raising Children:  "Costly Kids"

How much does it cost both financially and emotionally to raise a child? This new infographic from explores some of the headaches that come with "bundles of joy."  

Check it out at:

Teens Vote Financial Institutions 'Most Unpopular'
How parents can turn cynicism into teachable moments.

Pamela Yellen, Huffington Post  07/27/2012 7:04 pm

It's no surprise. Many adults are wary of banks and credit card companies in the wake of the economic crash and many fear another cataclysm is around the bend. Now a new study shows banks and other financial institutions are losing the popularity contest with teens.

Many youth now view the financial sector as a bully laying in wait to snatch their lunch money through predatory lending tactics and high interest charges. That's the view one gets from reading a national opinion poll of high school students recently commissioned by the University of Arizona's Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Financial Education and Research and conducted by The Financial Literacy Group.

"A healthy skepticism about financial institutions has soured into cynicism, where teenagers almost expect to be victimized by financial firms," economists Michael E. Staten and Dan Iannicola Jr. say in an article titled Warm and Fuzzy Financial Ed Doesn't Cut It Anymore.

The poll of 878 students at 18 high schools in 11 states "shows that the majority strongly distrusted financial institutions even while expressing great confidence in other things like their likelihood to find employment and to achieve financial security."

"For example, 60 percent of students polled firmly believe that credit card companies often entice people into taking on more debt that they can handle, while 70 percent believe that businesses try to 'trick' young people into spending more than they should," the article states. "Only 25 percent of students disagreed with the statement, 'the stock market is rigged mostly to benefit greedy Wall Street bankers,' and only 17 percent disagreed with the statement, 'banks are mostly interested in getting my money through hidden fees.'"

The study also found teens lacking in some basic knowledge when it comes to personal finance. For instance, 68 percent did not know that owning stocks is a riskier form of investment than owning government bonds, and more than half didn't know that a high credit score is better than a low score. MORE

PwC and Knowledge@Wharton High School to Co-host Business and Financial Responsibility Training Seminar for 150 High School Educators, All Expenses Paid

Registration Opens Today

PHILADELPHIA, July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Knowledge@Wharton High School (KWHS) and PwC today announced the convening of the PwC-KWHS Seminar for High School Educators on Business and Financial Responsibility. The all-expenses-paid financial literacy conference for 150 educators will be held Sept. 28-30 on the Philadelphia campus of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

"Our goal in creating this conference is to promote financial literacy, entrepreneurship and leadership among high school students, and to provide educators with lessons and skills for their classrooms," said Mukul Pandya, executive director and editor-in-chief of Knowledge@Wharton. "We are thrilled to work with PwC to bring this training seminar to life."

While 13 states mandate personal-finance coursework as a graduation requirement, 35 percent of teens don't know how to write a check and fewer than one-in-five teachers feels prepared to teach financial literacy, according to studies from Charles Schwab and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. More

Shahar Ziv; Huffington Post 7/12/2012

Summer always brings a certain excitement as a new crop of freshly minted college graduates descends upon Manhattan and other cities, ready to take on the world. But while these young adults come armed with diplomas, a new wardrobe, and endless ambition, most lack a solid grasp of what it means to be financially literate. Today's graduates are diving into the real-world financial pool without even the basic strokes of personal finance. As the recent financial crisis has illuminated, not only is the water quite deep, but there are also plenty of sharks and, unfortunately, not as many lifeguards as we would have hoped.

A fundamental shift in risk, most notably in the transition from guaranteed pensions to individual retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, means that the economy that today's graduates enter is structurally different from the one of previous generations. Simultaneously, most Americans, young and old, display a strikingly low level of financial literacy. A 2010 Financial Literacy Survey of adults, conducted on behalf of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Inc., revealed that 34 percent of U.S. adults (over 76 million people) gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance. On questions dealing with compound interest, inflation, and risk diversification, studies by Professors Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia Mitchell show significantly low rates of understanding among the general population and specifically among certain demographics including women, African Americans, and Hispanics.

The lack of financial sophistication in the United States has severe consequences. Academic research has found that individuals who are not financially literate are less likely to plan for and accumulate retirement wealth, participate in the stock market, and refinance mortgages during periods of falling rates. More

Closing the Gap in Economic Education: Financial Literacy Begins in the Classroom

Nan J. Morrison, President & CEO, Council for Economic Education

Huffington Post Blog 04/30/2012

Like most young adults fresh out of college, saving for the future wasn't my top priority when I landed my first job. Left to my own devices, I can't say for certain I wouldn't have spent almost every cent of those paychecks, if not for my father reminding me once a week, every week, to contribute to my 401(k). He never missed a call -- and I never missed a payment.

But not everyone is so lucky to have a mentor like I did.

Parents are Lacking in Financial Know-How

If there's one lesson we've learned from the recent recession and its painful fallout, it's that an alarming number of Americans lack the basic dollars-and-cents understanding they need to navigate today's global economy. The gap between what people know and what they need to know is widening every day.

Just consider these stats:

Only 49.7 percent of U.S. adults can define a "budget deficit."

9 million households have neither a checking nor a savings account.

29 percent of Americans have no savings at all.

It would seem that an overwhelming number of American adults are ill-equipped to instruct their children in economics and personal finance. But they're not the only ones.

Teachers and Schools Come up Short on Economic Education

Many teachers are also woefully under-educated when it comes to financial literacy. In a recent survey, 20 percent of teachers stated that they do not feel competent to teach basic personal finance. And those who actually teach economics to high school students have often received minimal college instruction in the subject.

That said, some schools have ramped up financial education requirements in the years since my organization, the Council for Economic Education, has been tracking their progress. In the year 2000, only seven states required a high school personal finance course to be offered; by 2011 that number had doubled to 14. But our most recent Survey of the States shows that in the past two years, that momentum has slowed, and in some cases even come to a halt.

Full Article