COUNCIL FOR ECONOMIC EDUCATION | FEBRUARY 2020
After many years of little change, the 2020 Survey of the States shows real progress in the number of states with graduation requirements in both economics and personal finance.
Every two years, the Council for Economic Education (CEE) conducts a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States, collecting data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The biennial Survey of the States serves as an important benchmark for our progress, revealing both how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. There has been significant progress since the first Survey of the States was published in 1998, and after many years with little change the 2020 Survey of the States shows a notable increase in the number of states requiring their students to graduate having taken a course in personal finance, or a related course that includes a dedicated portion of the curriculum to personal finance.
Economics requirements also continue to increase: for the first time, 50% of states require economics for graduation. This is an encouraging development as it seems to signal that states continue to recognize economics as an important subject in its own right, rather than as one that can be displaced by personal finance.
Research shows the importance of requirements in encouraging positive financial behaviors. And how and where requirements are implemented make a difference in effectiveness. For that reason, the 2020 Survey of the States now clearly differentiates those states that mandate economics and personal finance as dedicated, standalone classes and those that integrate the requirement into a related class. This distinction, we believe, helps to more meaningfully demonstrate the level of comprehensiveness of a state’s requirement.
CEE works with our nationwide network of affiliates to both advocate for requirements and assist in their implementation. To support local and state advocacy initiatives, we have developed voluntary standards in economics and personal finance, nationally-normed, curriculum-agnostic assessments in economics and personal finance, and an online advocacy toolkit. Please visit our website for information about these and other resources: www.surveyofthestates.com.