Why Leave Financial Literacy to Luck?

People are accustomed to seeing a lot of green on St. Patrick’s Day. This year, Nevada legislators will be talking about a different kind of green; money. SB 220 will be heard on the Senate Floor at 3:30 on Tuesday March 17, 2015.

SB 220 seeks to expand financial literacy training in Nevada classrooms. Drafted by two youth legislators, Evan Gong and Kyle Walker, the bill has gained support from multiple Senators, agencies and associations. If passed financial literacy would be moved from social studies to math and require age appropriate curriculum be taught in grades 6-12. Their own experience and that of their fellow students with the current provided teaching inspired Gong and Walker. Their research included a report out of UNR, which guided the requests incorporated into the bill. It addresses modern-day financial concerns such understanding interest rates and loans, including student loans as well as managing credit and preventing identity theft.

“When Gong and Walker approached Nevada Bankers Association, we knew we wanted to be involved. When students ask to be taught something, when they are willing to learn and recognize the importance of a subject matter, that is a great sign.” Stated Ray Specht, Chairman of the Board for Nevada Bankers Association. Specht even secured support from his own company, Toyota Financial Services, to purchase airfare to and from Carson City so that Gong and Walker could testify in person.

NBA Directors had just drafted and approved a resolution in support of Governor Sandoval’s education policies and reforms. Support of financial literacy in the classroom was a logical inclusion.

“Numerous organizations and agencies throughout Nevada help bring financial literacy to the classrooms. Banks alone donate generously every year through volunteers, tools and resources. Formalizing the requirement for grades 6-12 is a great next step. We believe financial literacy incorporated in the classrooms builds a foundation for both academic and personal success.” Stated NBA Executive Director Phyllis Gurgevich

The youth legislators didn’t leave the fate of their bill to luck either. When the bill was not the winning submission in the Youth Legislation program (only one can win and theirs was in second place by just one vote), the students sought a sponsor for their bill and found a strong advocate in Senator Joyce Woodhouse.  Woodhouse was joined by Senators Denis, Ford, Kihuen, Parks, Atkinson, Harris, Manendo, Roberson and Spearman in support as well as joint sponsors Assemblymen Stewart, Swank, Diaz and Carlton.

The list of organizations that support the bill is a long one that includes: Andson Foundation, Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, NevadaSucceeds!, Clark County Education Association, United Way of Southern Nevada and the Nevada Bankers Association.