Officials of the island’s public school system are backing a legislative proposal that was recently introduced calling on Guam’s largest government agency to add real-world lessons to its high school.
Members of Guam’s 36th Legislature introduced resolution 348-36, requesting that the Guam Department of Education incorporate financial literacy into its high school curriculum as a stand-alone course and require course completion to earn graduation, starting with the school year. 2023-2024.
Senator Telena Nelson, Chair of the Education Committee, co-sponsored the measure.
“In high school, I remember saying, ‘Well, what am I going to do with this kind of education? What am I going to do with the calculation? How am I going to use this in the real world? And really, I’m not using it right now. But financial literacy, we’re always going to face those kinds of challenges and changes within our personal finances,” Nelson said.
The resolution aims to ensure that high school students in Guam “are built to succeed,” she told the Guam Daily Post.
“Many seniors leave high school without knowing how to balance their finances and without making responsible financial management choices. And that’s a challenge for them,” Nelson said. “A lot of seniors leave high school to go to college getting a lot of credit cards. And then ending up (with) huge debts, not being able to pay their credit card, and then they don’t understand the impact of their credit score.
It’s a problem Nelson would like to solve with this resolution, preparing students to make the right financial choices before and after they graduate from high school.
“These are core life skills that we want to ensure our seniors leaving today can move forward and be prepared when they graduate this year,” Nelson said.
The GDOE supports the legislative call to action and will work with the Guam Board of Education to determine how to implement any new mandates, according to one of its top officials.
“Our high school principals, the Island-Wide Student Council, the Guam Board of Education Curriculum Committee, and the Curriculum and Instruction Division have all reviewed the resolution and support its intent,” said GDOE Deputy Superintendent Joe Sanchez. curriculum and teaching. “We all agree on the importance of financial literacy in our schools. »
Sanchez shared with the Post that GDOE already has a personal finance management course offered to 11th and 12th graders for two semesters, which was adopted in 2017.
“We currently have a personal financial management course available to all high school students, and have also integrated financial literacy into several of our math courses,” he said. “However, we support the idea of this resolution to design the secondary school curriculum in such a way that a greater percentage of students take the course. I cannot yet say whether this makes it a new requirement. for graduation, but it will be a strong possibility.
The current course prepares students for the choices and challenges of today’s financial markets. A better understanding of personal finance will help students transition into adulthood by making more informed monetary decisions, realizing greater potential for personal wealth, and fostering a stronger economy, according to GDOE.
The class includes lessons that cover saving, budgeting, credit cards, investing, taxes, identity theft, insurance, and other financial matters that will help build confidence in their decisions personal finances, GDOE noted.
IBOGS conducted a student survey online via social media, with 101 responses as of August 30.
The results showed that less than half of the participants supported the proposed graduation requirement.
• 44.6% support the resolution.
• 32.7% do not support the resolution at all.
• 22.8% were undecided if they supported the resolution.
Although the plurality of responses supported the measure, student reluctance surfaced throughout the survey.
“Based on discussions with our student leaders and a recent student survey, their biggest concern was making this a graduation requirement for students who are about to graduate or who are currently in high school,” Sanchez said. “This can easily be resolved by applying the requirement to incoming freshmen so that it does not affect current high school students.”
The GDOE recommended some potential policy approaches to resolution:
• Require all schools to offer the stand-alone (full) financial management course.
• Change the policy to allow students to take the Financial Literacy course without first going through Algebra I and Geometry.
• Strongly recommend that all students currently in high school who have available credits take the financial management course, but do not make it mandatory as students may have other plans for their CCL courses.
• Offer financial management as a priority math/elective during all credit recovery periods such as PE and summer school.
• If this will be a requirement for all students, it can start with the class of 2027, who are the incoming ninth graders for the 2023-24 school year.
Senator Tony Ada requested that the IBOGS conduct another investigation to see if student support arises with the following recommendations considered for resolution. The new survey results are due to be presented by the IBOGS to the Board of Education on Tuesday.
Additionally, council members joined with the GDOE and students in supporting the resolution.
“I agree that it’s important for students to learn this before graduation,” said GEB Vice President Mary Okada. “We will work on the implementation schedule so that there is enough time to integrate it into the program.”
GEB member Maria Gutierrez, who is also an IBOGS adviser, expressed support for the measure.
“I support that once the resolution is passed, it will be up to the board to review the resolution and any additions and/or policy changes,” added GEB Chairman Mark Mendiola.