Sponsored by:
Penn State University
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Financial Literacy and Economic Education Information for Pennsylvania Educators
April 1, 2016
March Madness - Finance Style   
Student Activity
Your NCAA bracket may be busted, but you can still capitalize on the excitement that surrounds March Madness - with a personal finance twist! The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and the Financial Planning Association teamed up to create Financial Four, an interactive bracket in which users narrow down their financial priorities until they get to a number one. Once you submit your responses, you can see how your answers compare to those of other users and those of financial advisors. 

Don't have access to devices? You can  print a PDF version instead. 
Free Financial Education Webinars
for PA Educators
Professional Development
Earn Act 48 Credits at no charge and join your fellow educators from around the Commonwealth who are serious about their professional development. Keep on top of new trends, hear from the experts, and find some great tools and FREE resources to further financial education at their schools. April's webinars are the last ones in the  Making Cents series for this school year. 

Coming up on Thursday April 14th, you can register for either the afternoon (3:00 - 4:30) or evening (6:30-8:00) session. The topics and speakers are:

Practice What You Preach: You, Your Students, and Investing Basics
Presenter: Doug Hassenbein
As an investor education specialist with the PA Department of Banking and Securities, Doug has great advice on teaching students about investing - including what to watch out for - and will pass along classroom tested resources. Doug will also share how you can bring his presentation to your classroom free of charge. 

The New PwC Earn Your Future Digital Lab
Presenter: Hilary Hunt
Be among the first in the country to see PwC's new Earn Your Future Digital Lab - a set of free interactive modules designed to engage and challenge students in grades 3-12 in any number of instructional settings. Hilary will walk you through one of the high school level modules and give you an overview of the site's functionality - including the educator portal. The digital lab is part of PwC's (formerly known as PriceWaterhouseCoopers) multi-million dollar commitment to youth financial education. 

All Making Cents webinars are available at no charge and provide Act 48 for participants with a valid PPID. Two sessions are held each day to accommodate various schedules: 3:00pm - 4:30pm and 6:30pm - 8:00pm. Registration is available here

New Curriculum Review Tool
Educator Resource
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a new tool available to help educators select K-12 financial education materials that will best suit their needs. The Curriculum Review Tool  guides users through four key aspects of a high quality financial education curriculum: content, utility, quality, and efficacy.
  • Curriculum Content: Helps reviewers assess whether a curriculum covers key topics and skills that are relevant, age-appropriate, and prioritized across major national financial education content standards.
  • Curriculum Utility: Helps reviewers determine whether the prospective curriculum provides instructional guidance and materials designed to facilitate strong and effective financial education instruction.
  • Curriculum Quality: Helps reviewers assess whether the material is presented in an accurate and objective manner to students.
  • Curriculum Efficacy: Helps reviewers determine how well the prospective curriculum improves students' financial knowledge, skills, and behaviors.

Improving Financial Education from Pre-Elementary to Young Adults
Expand Your Knowledge
by Cathy Faulcon Bowen, Ph.D.

C Bowen
Financial education is occurring in many arenas other than schools. Yet schools are uniquely positioned to reinforce efforts occurring in areas such as Girl or Boy Scouts and in the home. A rec ent issue of  The Journal of Consumer Affairs focused on the importance of early financial education to financial success. One article by Dever et. al. discussed the way to develop attitudes, knowledge and skills in youth (ages 3 to 21), that shape financial well-being in adulthood. Financial well-being is defined as "having control over one's finances, day-to-day and month-to-month, having the capacity to absorb financial shocks, being on track to meet financial goals, and having the financial freedom to make choices that allow one to enjoy life". Obviously, financial education is a key to shaping financial well-being.

Developmentally Appropriate Interventions
The author's outlined strategies educators can use to enhance the learning of youth with the key take away being to focus on developmentally appropriate interventions by age group. At ages 3-5 (pre-elementary) focus on shaping executive function; ages 6-12 (elementary to middle school) focus on financial socialization and ages 13-21, (adolescents to young adults) focus on financial skill building. While some level of the three foci may occur at all ages, the impact on individuals can be maximized at the time when youth are more developmentally "ripe" to benefit.

Executive function develops rapidly during the first five years of life and has three components: inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Inhibition involves the ability to stay focused on a task regardless of distractions and includes self-control. Working memory is the brain's ability to hold on to and process several pieces of information at once. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to think of different ways to solve a problem. Executive function is linked to characteristics and skills (delayed gratification, conscientiousness, temperament, better attention spans and study habits) that drive financial well-being. The more opportunities teachers can provide to teach or reinforce skills that strengthen executive functioning (e.g. counting, measuring future time, managing emotions) the better.  

Financial Socialization
Financial socialization, peaks at ages 6-12 during elementary and middle school. Socialization involves acquiring and developing values, attitudes, standards, norms knowledge, and behaviors that provide the context for financial practices: During this age range, children become aware of brands and began shaping judgments about people and products they consume. Teaching kids to resist consumer culture and to examine and question product marketing could have lasting impacts on their financial well-being. Parents and caregivers are main socialization agents for kids in this age range. However schools, the media and peers are also influencers.

Real World Relevance
Financial skill building opportunities appear frequently during ages 13-21. Y outh usually have increased independence and often more financial responsibility with money from earnings or an allowance. Research suggests people are very receptive to financial education when it is relevant to immediate needs. Opportunities to teach, reinforce, and provide practice on  financial topics relevant to this age range are plentiful (jobs and paycheck deductions, budgeting for prom or participation in sports or clubs, buying car insurance, selecting financial institutions, comparing credit card offers, making decisions about the college to attend, shopping for goods and services, etc.). Teachers can incorporate real life events that teach financial concepts at times when learner interest is high.

The article concludes with a brief discussion on unconscious financial decision-making. In a nutshell, some individuals rely on unconscious decision-making to navigate their financial lives. They manage by using a set a rules to simplify decision-making or rely on practices established via financial socialization or repeated use. Thus, the importance of establishing good practices early in life that could impact financial well-being.

April is Financial Education Month - How Will You Celebrate?
Mark Your Calendar
Opening with the line, "WHEREAS, personal financial m anagement is a lifelong activity that, at times, can be intricate and overwhelming," Governor Wolf issued a proclamation declaring April as Financial Education Month in Pennsylvania. Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin Weismann announced the month at a press event on Monday, March 28th. Secretary Wiessmann was joined for the announcement by Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne and representatives of the PA Housing Finance Agency, PA Insurance Department, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, PA Treasury, AARP Pennsylvania, PA Bankers Association, and PA Credit Union Association.  

Among the events taking place this month are  Teach Children to Save Day on April 29th and  National Credit Union Youth Month April 1-30. 

Consider celebrating Financial Education Month in your classroom with one of these ideas or your own:
  • Offer financial tips during school wide announcements
  • Display a financial education bulletin board with helpful tips
  • Have students plan and host a "Happy Financial Education Month" celebration, using free supplies or sticking to a predetermined budget, of course
  • Prompt students to write a "What Financial Education Means to Me" essay
  • Make "Happy Financial Education Cards" for students to open again next year - with financial tips or goals they hope to achieve between now and then
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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. 

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Team Members:

Sally Flaherty, PDE

Cathy F. Bowen, PSU

Hilary Hunt, Consultant

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