Do Florida high school students know how to complete various IRS forms? What about a loan application?
Can they manage bank accounts, or contest incorrect billing statements?
Those topics and other finance and money management practices will soon be required to be able to graduate and earn a high school diploma from a public high school in Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed legislation SB 1054 — Financial Literacy Instruction in Public Schools — to ensure kids can leave high school knowing financial literacy.
Beginning with 9th graders in 2023-24, students in high school will be required to take a semester of financial literacy before they can earn a high school diploma. That would count as a half-credit for graduation requirements.
“What the bill is doing with financial literacy is really providing a foundation for students that’s going to be applicable in their lives regardless of what path they take,” DeSantis said at the Tuesday press conference. “I mean, if they go the university route, post graduate, any of that, they’re still going to need these skills. If they go right into the workforce, they’re still going to use these skills.”
High schoolers seeking a diploma already have a hefty checklist of courses to complete before graduation, including several classes in English, math, science, social studies, as well as requirements for economics, physical education, and various electives which could include performing arts.
Currently, Florida school districts are required to offer financial literacy as an elective but not a graduation requirement, according to staff analysis of the legislation. Prior to 2019, financial literacy was incorporated into the curriculum of high school economics courses.
The course must include the instruction or discussion of several concepts, including:
/basic principles of money management such as spending and credit scores
/completing a loan application
/computing federal income taxes
/local tax assessments
/basic principles of personal insurance policies
/types of savings and investments
/state and federal laws concerning finance.
The legislation is named the “Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act,” named after a Florida senator who has passed away. Hukill was a Republican who represented areas around Central Florida.
Senate President Wilton Simpson spoke at the Tuesday press conference in Pasco County, part of which is in his district.
“This bill today — Sen. Hukill served with me for my first six years in the Senate…she was a classroom teacher, and we’ve been trying to pass this bill for nearly a decade now,” Simpson said.
“Sen. Hukill carried this bill, she passed about four years ago, and we’re very proud that Sen. (Travis) Hutson…picked up this mantle and ran with it. So, we’re finally glad that we got this across the line. With the rise of our gig workers, with the rise of student debt, and things that can go wrong in lives at a young age that prevent our economy from growing, right? That prevent folks from coming out and starting business because they’re in debt or buying their first home, or any of those things. I think this is very important.”
Sen. Travis Hutson, who sponsored SB 1054 in the 2022 legislative session, was not at the press conference, but recognized Hukill in a Tuesday press release from the governor’s office.
“Senator Hukill was a personal friend, and it is my deepest honor to fulfill her legacy,” said Hutson in the written statement. “Every student should learn financial literacy before they graduate and start making real life financial decisions.”
The press release offered more comments from notable Floridian state politicians, most of which spoke on the importance of financial literacy for high school students or recognizing Sen. Hukill.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, while discussing the value of students understanding financial concepts such as credit, budgeting, savings, and investing, also said in a written statement:
“These lessons are also critical to training future generations of Americans to appreciate America’s capitalist system and grow our nation’s pool of entrepreneurs.”