Financial Literacy Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

Today, the Ohio Senate agreed to the changes that the Ohio House made to Senate Bill 1; legislation that would require financial literacy to be taught for every student graduating from Ohio high schools. Making this a graduation requirement has been a priority for the Ohio Chamber for many years.

Last week, the Ohio House passed Senate Bill 1 by a vote of 91-1. SB 1 would require students to take a one-half unit course in financial literacy, which schools can choose where best to incorporate this. This bill would also require teachers to obtain a license validation for them to be able teach financial literacy. These two requirements will provide a strong uniformity to Ohio’s educational standards as it relates to the application of teaching financial literacy.

The bill would also create the “High School Financial Literacy Fund,” which would be housed under the state treasury. The fund can consist of moneys appropriated to it, any interest or earnings from the fund and any donations, grants, gifts or moneys received. Additionally, districts or schools are required to cover the costs of teacher’s additional licensure requirement. The district or school may then seek reimbursement from the department of education for these costs; these reimbursements are paid out of the newly created high school literacy fund.

We believe strongly in the value of learning sound personal finance, and we also understand that this type of education is certainly occurring all throughout the state of Ohio already. Quite simply, SB 1 will ensure that each student graduating in the state of Ohio will be equipped with an adequate and sound level of financial literacy that will prepare them to enter the next stage of their life. Whether that is pursuing college or other post-secondary options, or going directly into the workforce, the foundation of having adequate understanding of finance will benefit them greatly.

In the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee, they added two amendments. The first amendment stated that you cannot substitute financial literacy for Algebra 1, Algebra 2, or Geometry. The other amendment extended for this school year a provision that allows for schools to hire substitute teachers who do not have a Bachelor’s Degree.

The bill now heads to Governor DeWine’s desk where we anticipate he will sign it into law thus ensuring that every student graduating from Ohio schools will have been taught financial literacy by the time they graduate high school.