Making Cents of Financial Literacy and Economic Education
information for Pennsylvania teachers in grades K - 12
 March 2014 
Webinar Coming Up
Register Now for the March 2014 Making Cents Webinar

The topics and speakers for the March 20th Making Cents webinar have been announced and online registration is open. This free online professional development program is offered at two times to accommodate various schedules: 3:00pm - 4:30pm and 6:30pm - 8:00pm. Each offers Act 48 credit to participants with a valid PPID number.

The March 20th sessions will feature the following topics and speakers:
  • Teaching about Giving presented by Cathy Bowen of Penn State University - Almost all financial education programs emphasize earning, spending and saving money, but often the topic of giving is overlooked. This session will provide suggestions for ways to incorporate lessons on giving to others and provide a rationale for doing so.
  • Using Tablets to Teach Students about Personal Finance presented by Sharon Baille of Burgettstown Middle/High School - Tablets and other mobile devices can be highly effective to teach students about personal finance. This session will provide an overview of classroom-proven ways to use them with your students. 
  • Professional Information presented by Hilary Hunt of the Making Cents Project - This brief presentation will provide information on the Pennsylvania Jump$tart Coalition and legislation currently proposed in Pennsylvania to make personal finance a requirement for graduation from high school.

Registration is limited, so please reserve your spot now. Registration information for all of the webinars can be found at


These webinars are offered free of charge to all Pennsylvania teachers and administrators through a partnership of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Penn State University. 

Resource Spotlight
Financial Entertainment 

The D2D Fund provides six online and mobile games that aim to improve personal financial capability, self-confidence, and knowledge. 


The award-winning Financial Entertainment games cover a wide range of topics for primarily secondary level students. The games and topics are as follows:

  • Bite Club: Save for retirement while running a vampire "day" club
  • Celebrity Calamity: Manage celebrity credit cards and spending 
  • Farm Blitz: Manage farm resources to build savings and survive financial emergencies
  • Groove Nation: Dance and budget your way to stardom
  • Refund Rush: Help clients split tax refunds and save during tax time

The games are available free of charge and include no commercials or endorsements. Learn more at 

Making the Case
Council for Economic Education's Survey of the States

Do you need additional data to support the need for personal finance or economic education in your school? 


The Council for Economic Education recently released its 2014 Survey of the States which includes information about the number of states requiring coursework in economics and personal finance. The survey is the sixth of its kind and a new website allows you to easily see the changes over time. 


In addition, the site offers current statistics on the need for economic and personal finance education. 


Are you familiar with some of the statistics shared in each area of the site? 

  • The Cost: 30% of 18-24 year old's income does towards debt repayment
  •  The Situation: Only five states require a stand-alone course in personal finance for high school graduation
  • The Challenge: 1/3 of parents are more comfortable talking with their kids about smoking, drugs, and bullying than about money
  • The Benefits: Students from states where a financial education course was required were more likely to display positive financial behaviors and dispositions.  
Consider having your students review the website and respond to the prompt below in a persuasive writing exercise:
  • The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is currently considering a bill (HB 1839) that would require every high school student to take a course in personal finance in order to graduate. Do you believe students should be required to take such a course before graduating? State your opinion and make your case in a letter to your local representative.  Use information learned from the Survey of the States website to support your response. 
For more information on the House Bill 1839, go here
Expand Your Knowledge 
C Bowen
Teaching Children the Value of Work
by Cathy Faulcon Bowen, Ph.D.



Work is not a four-letter word to be avoided or whispered in secrecy, especially during a child's developing years.  In fact, work during childhood to early teens can lay the foundation for a secure financial future. In proper balance, work, can teach children and teens the relationship between work and leading productive lives, having choices in life, and financial security.  In addition, work can shape positive attitudes and behaviors that ultimately lead to successful lives and financial security. 


What is the basis for these broad statements?  In part, they are based on experience and observation but they are also backed by empirical data from research. Using measures of individual success, Marty Rossmann, emeritus associate professor of family education at the University of Minnesota determined that the best predictor of young adults' success in their mid-20s was that they participated in household tasks when they were three or four years old. The measures of individual success included: a) completion of education, b) getting started on a career path, c) IQ, d) relationships with family and friends, e) not using drugs, and f) examining a child's involvement in household tasks of three age groups (3-4 year olds, 9-10 year olds, and 15-16 year olds).  However, it is important to note that if children did not begin participating in household work until they were age 15 or 16, the participation backfired and these participants were less "successful." The assumption is that responsibility learned via household tasks is best when learned young.


Work can also teach you how to: 1) be on a schedule when you would rather do something else; 2) stick with undesirable jobs until they are completed; 3) eliminate jobs you know you don't want to do for life; and 4) motivate you to learn as much as you can, whether it is academic or skills-based knowledge in an area of interest.


Work is not a four-letter word.  Work is the doorway to financial stability and financial success.  When we teach children and youth how to work, we set the stage for future financial security and financial stability. 



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Quick Links
Upcoming Webinar
Financial Entertainment
Survey of the States
Teaching Children to the Value of Work
Financial Education Month
New President's Council
Literature Connection
April will be Financial Education Month In PA
Every year for the past decade, the month of April has served as a time to shine a spotlight on financial education and 2014 will be no different.

Among the happenings next month are:

April 9: Pennsylvania Jump$tart Coalition to hold press conference in Capitol Rotunda

April 11: Bankers head into the classroom en masse for Teach Children to Save Day

April 20-26: Credit unions will support financial education during National Credit Union Youth Week

Do you know of additional events? Let us know.


New President's Council 
President's New Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans


The President recently appointed members to a new Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans. 


The Council's work will likely extend from its predecessor; however, this council is focused on only young people. 


The first meeting of the Council took place on March 10th. You can view the meeting online including comments by Jacob Lew, Secretary of the Treasury; Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education. More information on the Council can be found at the U.S. Treasury's website here

Children's Literature Connection
A Chair for My Mother



Reading  A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams can teach students about earning and saving money. This classic children's story is widely available and likely already on the shelves of your elementary school library.


After their home and belongings are destroyed in a fire, a little girl and her mother set a goal to save enough money to buy a comfortable chair for them to sit in at the end of the day.  


A corresponding lesson aimed at students in first through third grade is available from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis here. The book is also available in Spanish

About this Message 

Making Cents is a cooperative effort by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State University. If you find the content useful, please consider forwarding it to your colleagues. 


Team Members:

Sally Flaherty, PDE

Cathy F. Bowen, PSU

Hilary Hunt, Consultant

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