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Arkansas high school students to soon be required to take financial courses before graduation

ARKANSAS - 2017 November 15

El Dorado High School senior Adaija Williams says being in a Financial Literacy class has taught more than she ever expected.

"How to manage your money, what to do, how to save it," said Williams. "They tell you all about loans."

She says she's learned plenty from her parents about managing money, but being in this class has given her more insight into things most students her age don't always know.

"Even though I already have a checking account and savings account, I've learned more how to earn money back."

And pretty soon high schools students across Arkansas will be required to take classes like this.

The Legislature passed the Personal Finance and Job Readiness Act, requiring students to have some type of financial understanding before walking across the stage.

"Tenth, 11th and 12th-grade year, they must take a unit of Financial Literacy, and that can be handled in different ways," said Jackie Phillips, Business and Marketing Teacher. "It can be done through Economics, which is what El Dorado High School is planning on. It can be done through a Financial Literacy course, which is what I teach. It can also be done through Quantitative Math."

Requirements haven't kicked in yet, but teachers at El Dorado High school are confident that their students are ahead of the game, offering them real-life financial scenarios in these classes now.

"I think it's a life skill," said Phillips. "I mean it's something that everybody needs. Everyone needs to understand how to do household, basic math."

Students like Williams say they know these are skills they will take with them through the next steps in life.

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