Nov 16, 2021

Mission 2030 Guest Post: A Financial Literacy Proclamation from the Governor of Iowa Allowed Amy Jo Wertzberger to Teach Personal Finance

The following post is one in a series of inspiring stories from NGPF's Gold Standard Challenge Grant Program which incentivizes high schools and districts to commit to ALL students taking personal finance courses before graduation. Learn more, and apply for your $2,500 to $30,000 Gold Standard Challenge Grant before the August 31, 2022 deadline here.

About Today's Guest Author

Amy Jo Wertzberger is an educator at West Marshall High School in State Center, Iowa. Their school is the 145th recipient of the Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is Amy Jo describing West Marshall’s journey to the Gold Standard.

Describe a rough timeline for how you and/or your colleagues were able to advocate for personal finance to become a graduation requirement in your school/district. How long did it take? What were the major progress milestones?

In 2015 when I started at West Marshall, our history department only had four courses, each of which was required for graduation. That year when I took over Economics, we integrated Financial Literacy as half of the course. I began to advocate strongly that rather than spend half the course on Financial Literacy, we spent all of it there and renamed the course from Economics to Financial Literacy. The first year I switched over to full FL was 2020-2021 and I was able to cover much more.

What challenges did you encounter in your efforts to make personal finance a graduation requirement, and what solutions did you find for these challenges?

Difficulty in state regulations was a challenge - my principal explained changing the course to Financial Literacy would require a shift in its code with the state. At the time, Financial Literacy education was limited to teachers with a background in business or Family Consumer Sciences. Because I was licensed in all social studies endorsements, it was not until a Financial Literacy proclamation from the Iowa governor in 2019 that I was able to explain to my administration that the shift could take place.

What/who were the "catalysts for change" that allowed your efforts to be successful?

NGPF's Gold Standard Challenge was a catalyst for change that led to the implementation, as well as my steadfast insistence on the importance of financial literacy.

Which stakeholders (students, parents, admin, business leaders, school board, etc) were helpful partners in your quest to make the graduation requirement happen?

My history department advocated together to explain the importance of fully embracing financial education in its own course. I reached out to former students and members of the school board, but once I received support from my principal it all fell into place.

About the Author

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