Our Story: Financial Literacy Education

April 2015

When Iowa students build financial literacy skills, they’re better prepared to make wise financial decisions for their future in an increasingly complex world. That’s why Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers training for middle and high school educators who are responsible for teaching financial literacy in any capacity. The teachers receive up-to-date information and learn useful teaching techniques to help their students develop financial literacy skills.

Glenda Seward is a family and consumer sciences teacher at Mid-Prairie High School in Wellman.

She also has worked with ISU Extension and Outreach to help other teachers learn to use financial literacy curriculum. Seward says:

Here at Mid-Prairie High School we teach financial literacy to our students in a couple of different classes. We use the curriculum that’s been provided, and I’ve learned a lot more about, through the workshops done at Iowa State University the past couple of summers that was partly sponsored by the extension service.

Financial literacy is just so very important to students. Probably fewer things are going to affect their life satisfaction more than whether they’re able to manage their money and make good decisions with that over time. So preparing them in ways, in high school, that they can start out well, without making mistakes and having to recover from them, is huge.

When someone suggested I check out the curriculum (provided through ISU Extension and Outreach), I was incredibly impressed. I just dabbled in it enough for my students to try it and they were greatly engaged. It is something that is up to date. It is constantly being revised.

Teachers, for the most part, appreciate professional development that is relevant. It is something they can take back to their classrooms. The workshops at Iowa State in the summer have been exactly that. We literally go through the curriculum lesson by lesson. Any activities that are done, the teachers experience them. Each school is mandated for every student to have a financial literacy course or at least cover that content. Some teachers are being sent to trainings where they’ve never taught it before. And that’s where the workshops at Iowa State have been fabulous, because they’re able to get what they need, and feel confident in teaching their students what they need to know.

My students have done quite well with it, in terms of retaining the information, coming back and telling me later that ‘hey, I’m so glad I had that class, so glad I had that lesson.’

Having Iowa State University Extension and Outreach get involved with this is helping the communities greatly. Many students in the state of Iowa come back and live in Iowa. Having financial capability, financial literacy skills will help families in the future to be able to more confidently manage their money, more confidently live their lives in a way that allows them to really take advantage of what’s available in their communities, take advantage of the jobs that they have, and save for their future. It benefits future children; it benefits future families.

Contact Cynthia Fletcher, cynthia@iastate.edu, 515-294-8521, about financial literacy programs from ISU Extension and Outreach.