FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 20, 2018) – Reading, writing, arithmetic – and financial literacy.
The state Senate approved a measure today that would require a financial literacy course as a high school graduation requirement. The legislation, known as House Bill 132, passed by a 35-3 vote.
Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, who presented the bill, said it was needed because Kentucky ranks 48th in financial literacy.
“The lack of financial literacy is costing our state money,” he said. “When people are deep in consumer debt, they tend to file for bankruptcy more often, they are more likely to need state assistance and they certainly are not adding to the consumer economy when they send the majority of their spending capability in interest payments to out-of-state credit card companies.”
Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, asked how the measure would be paid for before voting for HB 132. Wise said the state education department is working to provide funding for those schools who do not have the resources available.
The Kentucky Board of Education would be responsible for establishing the standards and graduation requirements for financial literacy, according to HB 131. Completion of courses or programs that meet set financial literacy standards would become a graduation requirement beginning with students entering ninth grade in 2020-’21.
Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, said other states have found success in teaching financial literacy before talking about some model programs.
“I do think financial literacy is so important for all of us,” he said. “I look forward to voting for it.”
Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, stood in support of HB 132 and said he filed a similar measure last session.
“This is a bill I am certainly glad to see in this chamber,” he said. “I believe this bill will have more impact on the future of Kentucky than most bills we are going to have on this floor this year.”
HB 132 now goes back to the House for consideration of the change made in the Senate.