Survey of the States 2011: The State of Economic and Personal Finance Education in our Nation’s Schools

Council for Economic Education
Survey of the States

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Survey of the States 2011: The State of Economic and Personal Finance Education in our Nation’s Schools

“Just as it was not possible to live in an industrialized society without print literacy – the ability to read and write – so it is not possible to live in today’s world without being financially literate. To fully participate in society today, financial literacy is critical.”
-Annamaria Lusardi, Denit Trust Professor of Economics and Accountancy at the George Washington University School of Business

The Survey of the States is a biennial report from the Council for Economic Education that brings attention to the critical importance of economics and personal finance education by documenting its status in the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The recent economic downturn has brought nationwide attention to the dangers of a financially illiterate society. The 2011 Survey shows that while there has clearly been progress since the first Survey in 1998, that over the last two years, the trend is slowing and in some cases moving backwards.

The survey can facilitate an important dialogue that must take place between those who recognize that this knowledge is critical for young people and the decision makers that can effect change.

Key Findings

  • The number of states that now require students to take an economics course as a high school graduation requirement increased from 21 in 2009 to 22 in 2011.
  • However, only 16 states require the testing of student knowledge in economics, 3 fewer than in 2009.
  • No improvement has been seen in the area of personal finance. The number of states that require students to take a personal finance course (or personal finance included in an economics course) as a high school graduation requirement remains at 13.
  • Only 2 more states now require that personal finance content standards be implemented, bringing the total to 36.

Funding for the 2011 survey was provided by the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation.

For more information on the Survey of the States, please contact the Council for Economic Education.

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