(The Center Square) – High school students may soon be able to take financial literacy courses as part of their required two years of social studies with a measure awaiting the governor’s approval.
One of the more than 90 bills on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk would give high school students in Illinois the ability to learn about financial literacy during part of the two years of required social studies.
Senate Bill 1830 passed both chambers unanimously. State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, said that’s what sets the proposal apart from other curriculum updates lawmakers passed, like requiring sex education for all grades or requiring certain histories to be taught.
“I think when it comes to a lot of the mandates where you see opposition it usually is because that either what you’re getting is not education but indoctrination, or what you’re seeing is areas that are rightfully left to the parents,” Mazzochi said.
She said teaching financial literacy is crucial for young people.
“Students are making decisions pretty early as well that can have a huge impact on their financial future,” Mazzochi said. “Student loans are one example. Credit cards are another example.”
Mazzochi said teaching students their rights, liabilities and risks in managing their money will go a long way.
“The more that students can get at least some familiarity with a lot of these financial terms sooner rather than later they’re going to be able to put themselves in the best position long term to experience financial success,” she said.
But what about state lawmakers managing budgets with hundreds of billions of structural debt taxpayers are on the hook for?
“I said only half-jokingly after my first few days in Springfield that we should require that all Springfield legislators should have to pass a financial literacy test,” said Mazzochi, who has been in office since 2018.
That idea hasn’t found much support, she said.