Jul 16, 2019

North Carolina Becomes 7th State To Prioritize Financial Education By Making It a Graduation Requirement - Here's 5 Ways That NC Teachers Can Prepare!

North Carolina is now just the 7th state to require personal finance for all high schoolers.

HB924, a multi-faceted education bill including language around financial education in the state, passed through both houses of North Carolina's state assembly in June 2019, then received Governor Roy Cooper's signature on July 8, 2019.

The law states that the Board of Education "shall require during the high school years the teaching of a full-credit course focused solely on Economics and Personal Finance (EPF). A passing grade in the course shall be required for graduation from high school." This new North Carolina course is shaping up to be similar in scope to that of it's neighbor, Virginia, where high school students have been required to take a full credit course of Economics & Personal Finance as a condition of graduation for almost a decade now. 

In a nod to the needs of teachers, the newly signed law also directs the BOE to "require that EPF teachers receive the professional development necessary" to ensure a successful implementation of the course. Initially, when the language of the bill was passed as SB134, a $500 grant was earmarked for teachers to complete a professional development workshop on the course. This provision was unfortunately amended out of the final language of the bill. The good news is that non-profits, such as NGPF, provide high quality PD to educators at no cost and can scale up quickly to serve North Carolina teachers with both in-person and virtual workshops. 

But how can teachers gear up to make this new law a success?

Here are 5 steps NC teachers can take right now to get ahead of the 2020 rollout:

1. Raise your hand to teach the new course.

 It might sound simple, but you can take a lot of the stress and uncertainty out of the rollout of the new course in your school by simply raising your hand. Offer to take one or more sections of the course when it launches with the 2020-2021 school year. Not to mention, teaching personal finance is so much fun. It's a dynamic, engaging, practical course that every single student will benefit from. So many teachers also share with us how teaching the course improves their financial capability. Now that's a win-win!!!

2. Sign up for an upcoming NGPF FinCamp in North Carolina or a Virtual FinCamp this Summer!

FinCamp is a 1-day PD model exclusively focused on teaching personal finance like a rockstar. Teachers routinely tout FinCamp as, "the best PD I've ever experienced." All NGPF professional development is free, interactive, and engaging. Did I mention it's FREE?!

Be sure to sign up at one of our two North Carolina FinCamps soon before we hit capacity: 

Why wait until October? We have a full slate of Virtual FinCamps with a content focus this summer. Oh, and we're offering you a $50 Amazon gift card for every Virtual FinCamp that you attend this summer (up to 6) as an added bonus. Sign up here. 

3. Sign up for a North Carolina Council on Economic Education ("NCCEE") professional development workshop focused on the new course.

North Carolina CEE has been hosting teacher workshops around financial education for years in the state. Get involved with one of their workshops tailored specifically for NC's new course.

4. Take a proactive "inventory" of your own financial experience, confidence, and content knowledge.

Personal finance is no cake walk to teach. The financial world changes at a breakneck pace, and the teaching strategies required to make this course a truly impactful experience are different from those is other subject areas. Why? Personal finance is less about content knowledge and more about decision-making. In addition, everybody has their own challenges, preconceived notions, and insecurities about the world of money. Teachers are no different, and there's no shame in that! 

Nevertheless, teaching personal finance comes with the AWESOME responsibility to prepare the next generation of young people to build financially capable lives. To get a better sense of where your own strengths and weaknesses are in the world of personal finance, use NGPF's Unit Pages and Teacher Toolkit to take an inventory of your expertise in each of the major personal finance units: Checking, Saving, Types of Credit, Managing Credit, Paying for College, Investing for Retirement, Careers, Financial Pitfalls, Taxes, Insurance, and Budgeting.

5. Join professional networks of Personal Finance, Business, and Economics teachers. 

FinLit Fanatics, a closed Facebook community with over 2,500 passionate financial educators (they are fanatics after all!), is a fantastic place to exchange ideas, ask and answer questions about the sticking points in your course, and find great, teacher-vetted strategies and resources to rock the house in your classroom. Ask a question in the morning and have 15-20 responses from talented educators by the afternoon. What could be better than that? 

About the Author

Christian Sherrill

Former teacher, forever financial education nerd. As NGPF's Director of Growth & Advocacy, Christian is laser-focused on our mission to guarantee all students a rigorous personal finance course before crossing the high school graduation stage. Having paid down over $40k in student loans in the span of 3 years - while living in the Bay Area on an entry level teacher's salary - he's eager to help the next generation avoid financial pitfalls one semester at a time.

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