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WASHINGTON-The Treasury and Education Departments have suggested various options for incorporating financial education into school curricula and issued a white paper on the subject. The announcement also signified the kickoff of the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Education, which is headed up by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education Judy Chapa. The goal of the new office is to develop the most effective ways to educate all Americans on financial matters. The new office and emphasis on financial education were part of the administration’s education package, with original bill sponsors Congressmen David Dreier (R-Calif.) and Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), passed last December and are “the first down payment of that coming to fruition,” CUNA Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs John McKechnie said. He added that CUNA was very impressed with the speed in which the departments acted. “As Americans, we need to be fully prepared to function in our free market economy and take advantage of the many opportunities offered to us by our financial system,” the report, Integrating Financial Education into School Curricula, read. “Recent studies and surveys illustrate, however, that many of us do not have the knowledge or skills to make sound financial decisions. To ensure that we are prepared to meet our financial goals and responsibilities, we need to improve the financial education of Americans at all stages of their lives.” The different options suggested in the report are the inclusion of financial education in school board standards; incorporating financial concepts into material being asked on tests; emphasizing inclusion of financial education to textbook publishers; incorporating financial education materials in the classroom; and training teachers on its importance. The report comes from a panel discussion held in May. “As we shape our children into adults, we must acknowledge that part of being an adult is to develop and understand individual financial objectives,” said Secretary O’Neill. “The best place to start is in our schools and the most effective approach is through the integration of financial education into the core curricula of reading and math.” “Our goal at the Department of Education is to meet the President’s goal of educating every child in our public schools, so that no child is left behind,” said Secretary Paige. “Not only does that include teaching them to read and write and learn all the skills they need to excel in school – they also need to know the skills to excel in life. And one of the skills most critical to their success is knowing how to manage money.” The white paper released by Treasury includes a reference in a footnote to materials supplied by CUNA, specifically, “Spotlight Youth During Youth Week,” Connection: Credit Union Consumer Facts (Second Quarter, 2002). The trade group plans to meet with officials from both departments shortly. [email protected]

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