Financial literacy requirement shows importance of life skill teaching

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When students leave for college, they've spent their whole lives preparing for the next step in the classroom.

They've passed tests, taken entrance exams, studied all hours of the night and have written more essays than they care to count for the chance to go to college and do it all over again.

But for many students, college, the military or whatever they choose to do after high school will be the first step they take towards independent living. Some will also join the workforce immediately.

It makes sense that schools should also have programs in place to prepare students for the reality of a full-time job and life on their own.

The Nebraska Legislature last year passed measures that would have all Nebraska schools require a personal finance class, beginning with the 2024 class. The law dictates that students must achieve five credit hours of financial literacy courses.

These are designed to teach students how save and spend smartly, find the right insurance, monitor credit, debt and savings accounts and evaluate risk assessment with money.

Before, students relied on their parents or good ol' fashioned trial by fire to pick these skills up. Now, students have the opportunity for structured and hands-on learning when it comes to financial literacy.

We've seen in our own communities and nearby how life lessons and practical skills taught in classroom settings canhelp students. We see it in Fort Calhoun, Blair and Arlington Schools with Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings, which show students the basics in manufacturing, welding, construction and more.

Many students not only use CTE classes as a way to hone skills, but put them towards a career in a related field as well.

In Missouri Valley, FBLA students have taken to the task of operating a cafe out of the high school. Through that program, they gain skills in business management and customer service.

With the constant advancement of technology and increased cost in living, children need to know earlier and earlier how to navigate the world outside of the classroom and outside of their homes. If school exists to mold the next generation, then it's vital they help students develop skills that go beyond the tests and textbooks. The more schools can set their students up to pursue careers while living successful personal lives, the better off the community, state and country are for coming generations.

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