The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Financial Literacy Overview
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
April 7, 2017
At the March 28, 2017 meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, a group of Lexington High School students ("Project Finance") presented to the Board on financial literacy. They suggested that the Board and Department review the National Standards for Financial Literacy published by the Council for Economic Education (CEE) and consider recommending the CEE standards for voluntary implementation in school districts. This memo responds to the Board's interest in learning more about the current state of financial literacy curriculum and instruction in Massachusetts schools.
Financial literacy for students is an important topic, and programs have been launched in schools and districts around the Commonwealth. According to data that districts submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the 2015-16 school year, 270 districts offered financial literacy courses in a total of 550 schools, and about 81,000 students took a financial literacy course. Districts have discretion to design the course or program and choose the curriculum.
State Treasurer Goldberg has been active in promoting financial literacy. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has partnered with the Treasurer's office on a number of initiatives relating to the topic. Our work in financial literacy is primarily through our participation in the Economic Empowerment Trust Fund.
The Economic Empowerment Trust Fund is established by MGL. c.10, § 35QQ, to encourage and facilitate economic empowerment, including but not limited to establishing financial literacy programs. The trust fund's board is chaired by the Treasurer and includes the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Secretary of Education among its 20 members.
Additionally, the Department managed the Financial Literacy Pilot grant from April 2013 to June 2015. The Financial Literacy Pilot grant goal was to "equip high school students with the knowledge and skills needed to become self-supporting and to enable them to make critical decisions regarding personal finances." The Council for Economic Education (CEE) National Financial Literacy Standards were used for the pilot. The funding for the pilot project was eliminated in the FY16 budget.
I have attached the two legislative reports and the overview of the different curriculum models used by the districts in the pilot (the first year was a planning grant) for your reference.
CEE National Financial Literacy Standards
In response to the recommendations by the students at the March Board meeting, Department staff reviewed the CEE National Financial Literacy Standards in comparison to our newly adopted 2017 Mathematics and English Language Arts Frameworks. Our revised frameworks have maintained and in some places enhanced alignment. Attached is a document that describes the alignment, "Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Alignment to the Council for Economic Education National Standards."
Treasurer Goldberg has been very active in financial literacy education that empowers all Massachusetts residents. There is a Treasurer's Task Force on Financial Literacy (by Treasurer's Order in 2015) and the Economic Empowerment Trust Fund. The Report on Financial Literacy in Massachusetts was released by the Treasurer's Task Force in December 2015 and the Economic Empowerment Trust Fund posted their FY2016 Annual Report. The Treasurer's December 2016 progress report on financial literacy in Massachusetts includes activities relating to K-12 school programs.
Other State Agencies
The Department of Higher Education offers student financial aid information and services to residents of the Commonwealth through the Office of Student Financial Assistance. The Massachusetts Educational Financial Authority (MEFA) also publishes detailed information for Massachusetts families and MEFA does outreach regarding college costs.
Legislation was enacted a few years ago establishing a Six-Year Career Advisory Committee that is designed to investigate and study a development and implementation process for 6-year career planning to be coordinated by licensed school guidance counselors for all students in grades 6 to 12, inclusive. The committee examines how guidance can be given to students beginning six years before graduation in a consistent manner across districts. That committee is currently active and Tom Graf chairs it, as Secretary Peyser's designee.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education identifies and publishes a list of online courses that are aligned with state academic standards and available for use by districts. In partnership with EverFi, the Department is pleased to offer a range of free courses and activities for students, including Financial Literacy resources. These courses are free to Massachusetts schools and districts. Face-to-face professional development through EverFi is also free. Free K-12 Courses/Activities
The Office of Economic Empowerment (OEE) is a department within the Office of the Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts tasked with supporting, advocating, and facilitating policies that empower all Massachusetts residents. Its priorities include closing the wage gap, increasing access to financial education, improving college affordability, and investing in STEM careers and education. OEE Resources
The Massachusetts Council on Economic Education is an affiliate of the national Council for Economic Education. It is dedicated to economic and financial education and teacher training. Student and Teacher Programs
FY14 Financial Literacy Pilot Legislative Report
FY15 Financial Literacy Pilot Legislative Report
FY15 Financial Literacy Pilot Model Overview
Council for Economic Education National Financial Literacy Standards alignment to MA Mathematics and English Language Arts Standards
Report on Financial Literacy in Massachusetts
Empowerment Trust Fund: FY2016 Annual Report