Proposed state legislation would require high school seniors to complete a one-semester personal finance course and pass an exam on its content as a graduation requirement. I don’t know that this is a bad idea. However, there are multiple issues that need to be thoroughly considered.
• Would this course be an additional graduation requirement or would it replace an existing one? What would it replace?
• Would this mandate include additional funding or would districts need to fund it? A standalone semester class would require additional teachers (and cost) unless other programs are reduced.
• What will be the certification requirements for people who teach this class? Are such people actually available during an already severe teacher shortage?
• Could this content be covered within an existing course or delivered in a more innovative way versus adding a course requirement? Could technology be used?
• Who would develop the curriculum and the test for this course to ensure statewide uniformity? Where would the funding come from?
• Would the grade in this class be part of a student’s grade-point average? Because scholarships in South Carolina are grade-based, there is pressure for students to have more “weighted” classes on their transcripts to enhance GPA and class rank.
There is a limit to what can be done in a 180-day school year already crammed with mandates and a glut of bubble testing. The practical implications of this proposal need to be thoughtfully addressed.
Hunter Hill Road