SUMMARY OF GRADE
Requires high schools to offer Personal Finance elective
Minimal K-8 financial literacy standards
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
While one of Mississippi’s four high school graduation pathways requires a one-half credit in economics, the economics standards do not extensively cover personal finance. However, all Mississippi high schools must offer a one-half credit Personal Finance elective. Public high schools may offer a one-half unit in Financial Technology, Resource Management, or National Endowment in lieu of Personal Finance. Personal Finance, which is an elective that can be taken during 9-12th grade, has standards which robustly cover financial literacy. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has also developed a curriculum guide for the Mississippi Personal Finance elective, which is aligned to both national and Mississippi standards.
In the Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards for the Social Studies-2018, there is an economics strand for each grade, K-12. The guide explains that the strand, which integrates economic reasoning into K-12 curriculum, helps students in “demonstrating an understanding of economics and financial literacy in order to make informed financial decisions throughout their lives.”
Mississippi piloted a Mississippi College and Career Readiness Course in the 2018-2019 school course. In the curriculum for the course, financial literacy is one of eight units, providing extensive personal finance instruction. The unit is based on the Council for Economic Education National Standards for Financial Literacy as well as the Jump$tart National Standards and was develop with the help of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education. Also, a bill which would require a stand-alone Personal Finance course for high school graduation has passed the Mississippi House three times since 2011 but has not been successful in the Senate.
Mississippi receives a “D,” as it ensures a small amount of financial literacy instruction, through the K-12 social studies economics strand and the requirement to offer the Personal Finance high school elective. In order to raise its grade, Mississippi needs to make the Personal Finance course a requirement for each student, rather than optional, by passing a bill similar to what has passed in the House previously. Also, Mississippi should create financial literacy grade-specific standards for the economics strands.