As Washington’s Financial Capability Month (April) and Money Smart Week (April 18-25) concluded, Governor Inslee signed into law Substitute Senate Bill 5202, making Washington State one of only 20 other states requiring financial education incorporation into existing K-12 learning requirements.
“As the owner of two small businesses, I’ve noticed that a number of my younger employees lack the basic tools to make good personal financial decisions,” bill sponsor Senator Mark Mullet said. “It is my hope that this law will enable future generations of Washingtonians to make the most of their hard-earned pay and enjoy better lives, both in the short and the long term, throughout their lives.”
Originally sponsored by Senators Mullet, Fain, Litzow, Billig, Frockt, Keiser, and Habib, the bill – now Chapter 211, Laws of 2015 – also authorizes the Financial Education Public Private Partnership (FEPPP), chaired by Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, to “seek federal and private funds to support the school districts in providing access to the materials listed pursuant to section 4(1) of this act, as well as related professional development opportunities for certificated staff.”
“We understand the pressure schools face: shortages in resources and time,” Rep. Santos said. “FEPPP makes the integration of financial education throughout K-12 less stressful by providing access to speakers, resources and other assistance.”
Cambridge University research indicates our money habits are set by age 7 – the earlier students can get access to financial education information, the better for all future generations.
“It’s so important that our children receive integrated financial education in their classrooms,” DFI Director Scott Jarvis said. “Having financial education from an early age provides a solid foundation to help them make smart money choices throughout their lives – it’s one of the reasons why DFI is supporting a financial education pilot program in daycare pre-schools this year."
As a longtime supporter of financial education for all ages, DFI is pleased to share that this year’s Money Smart Week (April 18-25) was a huge success – with more than 100 events. DFI partnered with Kitsap Credit Union to talk to seniors in Bremerton, provided workshops at Tacoma’s Kobetich and Wheelock libraries about avoiding ID theft and financial fraud, spoke to community members at Timberland’s Tumwater Library on the importance of saving today for a better retirement tomorrow, Family and Consumer Science Education teachers in Fife about avoiding ID theft and families in Longview on how to make smart money decisions.
Additionally, there were 18 Financial Capability Month Reading Days events at elementary schools throughout the state, from Clarkston to Olympia - with some volunteers reading to as many as 100 students in a day. Volunteers consisted of mayors, city council members, and school board members. The 2015 Reading Days selected book was “The Berenstain Bears, Dollars and Sense.”
Most of the schools contacted to host Reading Days were eager to offer their students the opportunity, asking for as many volunteer readers as possible. If only one reader was available, schools put classes together so more students participate. One school in Kennewick put their entire second grade together so they could all attend the reading. A few of the readers read to more than one classroom.
Volunteer readers and schools included:
- Ellensburg - April 20th at Mt. Stuart Elementary School
Reader: School Board Member Meg Ludlum
- Vancouver - April 20th at Anderson Elementary School
Reader: City Council Member Alishia Topper
- Vancouver- April 20th at Walnut Grove Elementary School
Reader: City Council Member Anne McEnerny-Ogle
- Longview- April 22nd at Northlake Elementary School
Reader: City Council Member Mike Wallin
- Olympia - April 22nd at Lincoln Elementary School
Reader: School Board VP Allen Miller
- Spokane - April 22nd at Roosevelt Elementary School
Reader: City Council President Ben Stuckart
- Vancouver - April 22nd at Franklin Elementary School
Reader: School Board Member Nada Wheelock
- Spokane- April 23rd at Holmes Elementary
Reader: City Council Member Candace Mumm
- Centralia- April 24th at Edison Elementary
Reader: City Council Member Patrick Gallagher
Feedback from teachers and volunteers was once again positive, with both groups expressing their support for the program and asking to be contacted again next year.
Recognizing the need for financial education at every age, DFI also provides grants to organizations like the YWCA for economic empowerment programs, Heritage University for financial education programs throughout the Yakima Valley and Science Technology English and Math (STEM) focused summer camps for at-risk youth and FEPPP for teacher and librarian trainings. DFI staff also provides financial education information at more than 80 outreach events annually throughout the state in partnership with more than 50 local, county, state and national partners.