Getting real about financial education

first_imgFinancial education is a lot like the weather: everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it.  I certainly don’t think that financial literacy is the panacea for our nation’s financial problems, but it’s one part of it.  After all, how can we have a serious debate about our nation’s housing policy if we don’t have a public that understands the costs and not just the benefits of owning a home?So, it’s a little shocking to me that the last six years haven’t forged a national consensus about the  value of making sure that young  people understand the basics of consumer financial products, such as how a credit card works, the danger of debt, and how to read mortgage documents.Responsible spending and prudent saving are cultural values that can and should be taught at very young ages.  The question is:  how do we accomplish this goal?  To me, the key is integrating it into as many different parts of the curriculum for elementary and middle school students as possible and giving high schoolers the option of taking a dedicated financial education class.First, let’s get real.  In a previous life, I got a pretty good view of education policy in New York. There is no shortage of ideas worth teaching to our kids but there is a shortage of hours in the day.  Financial literacy may push out some current priorities that don’t have the same practical relevance.  For instance, New York State mandates, among other things, instruction in patriotism, citizenship, and human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery (including the freedom trail and the underground railroad), the Holocaust, and the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1850.  Anti- bullying education was put in place after Columbine and the state implemented an all Regents curriculum more than a decade before 44 states signed on to the common core.  This is not a definitive list.If you believe, as I do, that financial literacy should be taught early and often in the schools then you also should accept the premise that something else won’t be taught.How do we expand financial education without crowding out other instruction? Let’s advocate for the instruction of financial literacy across disciplines and work with stakeholders to point out ways in which it can be integrated into existing curricula.  For example, teaches can teach important math concepts by  explaining compound interest; you can learn an awful lot about economics by reading the Grapes Of wrath; finance and history go hand and hand.As kids get older, their schedules get more, not less crowded.  Instead of having a mandatory class in financial education, let’s make it optional for high school kids.  Is this ideal?  No, but given how ferociously competitive the college admissions game has become, the idea of another mandatory course when there are SAT’s to cram for, AP classes to take and Regents material to master is likely to lose a lot of support, even among parents who think financial education is a good idea.Is this an agenda that lacks ambition? There is actually more to it than you might think.  By asking schools to integrate financial education among several disciplines you are asking teachers to put aside tenure-driven turf wars about who is qualified to teach which subjects.  Furthermore by integrating finance across several disciplines, we can start changing everyone’s thinking about financial education.  Prudent financial management is as much a cultural value as it is a subject to be taught at school.  Get it integrated into as many aspects of the curriculum today and maybe, just maybe, it will be part of people’s everyday thinking tomorrow. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Henry Meier As General Counsel for the New York Credit Union Association, Henry is actively involved in all legislative, regulatory and legal issues impacting New York credit unions. Whether he’s joining … Web: Detailslast_img read more


Chinese firm MA Steel acquires Valdunes

first_imgFRANCE: The Commercial Court in Valenciennes has approved a bid by Chinese steel and railway wheel supplier MA Steel to take over the activities of wheelset manufacturer Valdunes, which had entered receivership in April. The deal includes the Valdunes plant in Dunkerque, which has the only dedicated wheel forge in France, and the Valenciennes wheelset finishing facility. The takeover will enable the retention of 487 employees. A new company has been formed, MG Valdunes, which is to implement an investment and modernisation plan and established a global rail products research and development centre. MA Steel has with an 80% share of the Chinese wheel market and said the deal would enable MG Valdunes to access the Chinese repair and high speed rolling stock wheel market, and offer a wider range of wheels for the metro and tram sectors. MG Valdunes will take over MA Steel’s current exports to Europe, which amount to around 10 000 wheels/year.The MS Steel group has 41 220 employees, with subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Australia and Germany and revenue of €9bn in 2012.last_img read more