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SAN ANTONIO – At its 3rd Annual Meeting & Financial Education Summit last week, Texas Jump$tart Coalition attempted to draft a collective response to the Financial Literacy and Education Commission’s request for public comment on the development of a first-ever national strategy for financial education. Texas Jump$tart Coalition is a non-profit organization comprised of more than 300 business, government, education and financial institution entities dedicated to improving the personal financial literacy of Texas youth. “The National Credit Union Administration is calling for public comment from a credit union movement standpoint, but we hope to gain a collective response from the various representatives attending our meeting to show that our coalition has common ground in Texas,” said Texas Jump$tart Chair and Texas Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Elaine Laroa. “We may not get a consensus, but that is my hope,” Laroa added. “It won’t help the Commission to get public comment from hundreds of organizations suggesting hundreds of different ways to address the need for financial education. But, a unified response from different sectors in Texas might provide a starting point for the focus on a national level.” Published in the Federal Register on Aug. 26, the request for comment employs three questions: 1) What are the three most important issues that the national strategy should address, and why?; 2) What existing resources may be used to address those issues, and how could they be employed?; and 3) What are the best ways to improve financial literacy and financial education in the United States? Comments are due to the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Education on or before Oct. 31. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission was established under Title V of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 to coordinate federal agencies’ financial education efforts. In addition to the development of the country’s first national strategy for financial education, the Act calls for the establishment of a toll-free hotline and web site. If Texas Jump$tart Coalition is able to draft a collective response that is endorsed by those attending the Annual Meeting, the organization will send out a notice asking other Coalition members if they wish to support the comments. If they do not, Laroa said, they will be encouraged to submit individual comments to the U.S. Treasury. The Texas Jump$tart Coalition Annual Meeting, to be held Sept. 24 at the Crowne Plaza Riverwalk, will also feature a keynote address by State Rep. Norma Chavez, chair of the House Committee on Border and International Affairs and member of the Higher Education Committee. Rep. Chavez (D-El Paso) plans to author a financial literacy bill during the next regular session of the Texas Legislature. Several financial literacy bills were submitted during the last regular session of the Legislature, but in a tight economy, only resolutions favoring financial education passed. At the Annual Meeting, Coalition members also will receive updates on state and national Jump$tart initiatives, review results of the national 2004 Jump$tart Financial Literacy Survey, which indicates that high school students are reversing declining scores in personal financial management, define Texas Jump$tart Coalition priorities and take advantage of roundtables and networking opportunities. -

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