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Statewide Group Gives Financial Class to Spokane Teachers

Washington state public schools are not required to teach about personal finances. So, a committee appointed by the state is taking financial education into its own hands, and made the teachers be the students in Spokane Tuesday. The Washington legislature has funded FEPPP, the Financial Education Public Private Partnership, since 2009. FEPPP Vice Chair Pam Whalley says fewer than 20 percent of teachers in country have financial education training.

Whalley: “The problem is there’s only so much time teachers have to explore materials and resources, and what we did today is we gave them a flash drive of curriculum that has been field tested, has been tested for accuracy.”

Whalley also directs a financial education office at Western Washington University, which co-sponsored the class. The state has no mandate for financial literacy, but gives about 100-thousand dollars a year to FEPPP. And at least two state lawmakers are working for the cause: Spokane Representative Marcus Riccelli is a committee member, and State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos chairs FEPPP.

Santos: “If we are going to be meeting the basic education act of Washington state, everybody who goes through our public schools will hopefully become productive, contributing citizens. All of those are important personal finance concepts.”

Financial literacy may be stronger elsewhere in the Northwest. Both Idaho and Oregon have required instruction on personal finances. In 2013 the non-profit Champlain College gave Idaho an “A” grade in financial education programs, Oregon a ‘D’, and Washington an ‘F’.

Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio

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