How To Advocate for Financial Education...Student Voices Matter

Jun 24, 2018
Schools In News, Current Events

I stumbled across an amazing example of advocacy for financial education coming out of Roaring Fork High School in Colorado. Two high school students there, Stefan Platzer and Xio Alvarez, are working hard on a project to make the case for money management courses in their high school. As described in the article, their project is a great model on how to advocate for financial education. 

Student voice drove the process as their survey results led them to the obvious conclusion that students both need and want financial education:

  • 76 percent of the students do not know how to do their own taxes or how to take out a student loan.
  • 87 percent said they would enjoy taking a financial literacy class.

The reporter also discovered a financial education course taught at a neighboring high school by Jill Wilson, an NGPF Fellow. Jill is quite an advocate in her own right and has garnered many awards! A neighboring school with a course like this leads to that phenomenon called FOMO, or fear of missing out. This can also be a powerful influence as many local parents might have this reaction "why aren't they teaching this valuable course at my son/daughter's school?"

The Roaring Fork High School students also created a website (114 visitors to date), Project Citizen, which describes their mission:

We believe that High School should teach us more life important skills. In our opinion, one of the most important skills are basic financial management skills. With our Project, we try to convince the Roaring Fork School Board to make changes in the student timetable.

Xio and Stefan also describe the culminating project for their class which has a community service component:

The main grade will be the final project at the end of the course. For their final project, students will have to find a person in their community with low income (less than $54,000 a year) and they will attempt to do their taxes for free. They can also give the community member financial advice if needed. With this program, the students will gain a lot of practical experience and get out of their comfort zone because they will work with strangers. Their customers also get money back from tax returns and they save money by not hiring a tax consultant. This is a great opportunity to engage with their community and the community will have a good outcome towards the end.

Stay tuned...I'm going to get this inspiring students on the NGPF podcast so we can learn more about their passion for financial education. 


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.