The third report card of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College highlights the mixed record around the country — including in the D.C. region, where the District earned an F, while Virginia aced it and Maryland received a B. (See all grades below.)
The grades are only a slight improvement from those given in 2015, when 24 percent of states and the District earned an F. They underscore findings of the 2016 Survey of the States conducted by the nonprofit Council for Economic Education, which found “slow growth in personal finance education in recent years and no improvement in economic education.” That 2016 survey said that only 20 states required high school students to take a course in economics, two fewer than in 2014, and only 17 states required high school students to take a course in personal finance, the same as in 2014.
The “National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools” notes that even a B “does not necessarily mean that a state requires an adequate level of instruction.” Half of the states that earned B’s, the Champlain center estimates, allocate less than one-quarter of a half-year course in high school to personal finance topics. That means that students in eight of those states get between seven and 13 hours of personal finance instruction in all of high school.