Guest Post from Keith Lund: Finding Your Window

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Aug 18, 2020
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Advocacy

Keith Lund is an educator and Changemaker from Churchill County High School in Fallon, Nevada. After years of Keith's proposals to make personal finance a graduation requirement, Churchill County adopted the graduation requirement during the 2019 school year, making the high school the 35th in the nation to earn NGPF's Gold Standard Challenge grant in the process!

Learn more about the Gold Standard Challenge grant program here.

Here's Keith in his own words on how the district got the job done:

What was the rough timeline of your advocacy to make personal finance a graduation requirement?

I had proposed and suggested making Personal Finance a required class for many years, but I was always confronted with the objection that this would increase the number of credits required to graduate. For a long time, I had to be content that Personal Finance was at least offered at the school.

Last year, the number of credits to graduate increased by 1/2 credit, but the district did not designate which course or department would take on the additional half credit. I had found my window. I asked the school Superintendent at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year if I could push for making Personal Finance a required credit, and she was behind me from the start.

What steps did you take to move the ball forward?

I surveyed teachers and parents throughout the fall of 2019, and I genuinely received no negative responses to the idea. This gave me the confidence to then write an official proposal to the school board, which I delivered on November 20, 2019. At the board meeting, I also answered board members' questions. No board member had anything negative to add, and the comments were all positive. The Board and Superintendent told me all that was required to do was to update the graduation requirements after a public review period. I was able to get the changed graduation regulation at the beginning of May 2020. In all, the process took roughly eight months, but most of that time was waiting.

After the years of, "we can't add any additional requirements," I really had no further push back from anyone. Once the number of graduation credits was increased, that was "Go time." This simple change gave me the spring board from which all of my successful advocacy launched. Once the timing was right, all stakeholders were supportive of this decision. We were able to gain school board approval rather quickly because everyone was in agreement that personal finance concepts and skills are critical to all students' future success.

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