COLUMBIA, S.C. — A new South Carolina bill could require high school students to pass a personal finance class to graduate.
The bill, proposed by Senator Luke Rankin, would require students to take a half-credit personal finance course with an end-of-year test to pass.
Opponents of the bill say it could add another frustrating layer of testing on teachers. Others wonder why it wasn't required in the first place.
Skills like budgeting, investing and learning how to balance a checkbook are just a few aspects of personal finance you're sure to use once you've crossed the stage, but how many students are truly ready to use them?
"Over half of Americans retiring... they're depending on social security and that's simply not enough," Jim Morris, CEO of SC Economics, said. "They might have a small emergency fund, but they have not saved over the course of their life.... We need to try to get our students at various levels creating a better life for [themselves] ... based on financial decisions and choices."
Morris worked with the state Department of Education, community partners and state educators to make aspects of personal finance more prominent in schools.
"Personal finance has been in the classroom and a required piece, but it was sort of buried," Morris said. "Over the past year... we've taken the economics standards and we have strengthened them and woven personal finance throughout the standards."
The new standards have passed the first and second reading before the State Board of Education and, once fully adopted, will go into effect in 2020, according to officials with the S.C. Department of Education.
As for the bill, Morris feels the discussion alone is a step in the right direction.