SUMMARY OF GRADE
No financial literacy instruction requirements
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK
Rhode Island does not have any specific financial literacy requirements for high school graduation. The Rhode Island Board of Education Act, since 1979, mandates that “school districts shall provide for pupils in the public schools in grades eight through twelve to be taught and be required to study courses which include instruction in consumer education.” In 2014, the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education endorsed the Council for Economic Education’s National Standards for Financial Literacy. However, “the decision as to whether to offer courses in financial literacy, whether to require that students take these courses, and how you proceed with these courses in our schools remains a local decision.”
The Council for Economic Education’s National Standards for Financial Literacy have benchmarks for the end of Grades 4, 8, and 12. Since these standards are not required by the state, they do not ensure students receive financial literacy instruction in their K-12 curriculum.
As it does not guarantee any financial literacy instruction for Grades K-12, Rhode Island receives an “F.” Rhode Island should follow the mandate to require high school students to study financial literacy, through a stand-alone course. Rhode Island could also improve its grade by requiring that the Council for Economic Education’s National Standards for Financial Literacy be implemented in schools or by creating grade-specific standards for Grades K-8.