Students wearing protective masks raise their hands in a classroom while an instructor is teaching at a public charter school in Provo, Utah, United States on Thursday, August 20, 2020.

George Frey | Bloomberg via Getty Images

It’s a question that many personal finance educators have asked themselves: How can I best involve my students’ parents in the financial literacy I teach?

Tamara Gordon, an 8th grade social teacher at Centennial Academy in Atlanta, is one of them.

“Some parents think it is nonsense to teach personal finance education. How do I get over it?” She asked a group of experts during Invest in Teachers: Ready on May 5th. To adjust. To grow. Event, a partnership with CNBC, the Council for Economic Education and Next Gen Personal Finance.

“Sometimes you get this resistance because parents are honestly ashamed of where they are and ashamed not to know,” said Tiffany Aliche, founder of The Budgetnista and former school teacher in Newark, New Jersey.

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To fill this gap, Aliche took her students to a Gamify financial education during her class – they took on adult roles in a game and practiced paying bills with Monopoly money. On those days, she also invited the parents of her students to come in and play.

“What your child learns, you too can learn in ways that preserve your dignity,” she said. “Invite these parents to the classroom.”

There are also ways to take the conversation home with you.

“I think you can do chores that ask parents financial questions,” said Dan Otter, executive director of 403 (b) Wise, an educational counseling attorney, adding that these are the parenting jobs or their families’ handling of money.

“You don’t want to make it threatening,” said Otter. “I think you have to start with these basic questions.”

Personal finance education in the United States varies by state, city, and even school. Only 21 states require students to take a personal finance course, and few require it to be a stand-alone class rather than being placed on another course.

In 24 states, high schools are required to provide personal finance education, but it is not mandatory. Less than 12% of students must complete a standalone personal finance course to graduate from high school outside of the six states that require it. This is based on research by Next Gen Personal Finance, a nonprofit that focuses on providing financial education to middle and middle school students.

However, this proportion is lower for color school students, which exacerbates the existing gaps in wealth. Only 7.4% of black and brown students and 7.8% of low-income students need to take a personal finance course to graduate.

Use personal stories

Beyond school and government requirements, many students may not have examples in their life of adults who have solid financial literacy and have modeled good personal finances.

“Studies show that parents would rather talk about sex with their children than about money,” said Brad Klontz, a certified financial planner and financial psychologist, during Wednesday’s panel.

Some teachers also make a point of bringing their personal financial experience to the class to motivate their students and set an example.

Yamiesha Bell, a 10th grade special education teacher at Gotham Collaborative High School in the Bronx, New York City, aims to share her personal financial history with her students.

Invite these parents into the classroom

Tiffany Aliche

Founder, The Budgetnista

She kept her updated as she paid off about $ 27,000 in credit card debt over seven months and built her total net worth to $ 100,000.

“I found it important that someone who looked like him show them that there are ways to build wealth,” said Bell, who also records her personal financial journey on an Instagram account called The Bold Budgeter.

The panel of experts also encouraged teachers to do their own personal financial research and planning, and to discuss finances with their students and colleagues.

“I think it’s incredibly helpful because other people are likely to breathe a sigh of relief,” said Klontz. “All you have to do is talk about it and others will refer to it.”

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