Missouri creates a group to review personal finance education

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Board of Education created a work group to review the state's personal finance learning standards. 

This will be the first time the state is reviewing these standards since 2006. 

At that time, the board decided to required one-half credit of personal finance in order to graduate. 

Seventeen people will be a part of the group. 

Dr. Blaine Henningsen, the assistant commissioner for the Office of College and Career Readiness, will help lead the process on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's end. 

Missouri is one of 14 states that currently require high school students to take a course specifically in personal finance. 

"The current standards help students understand sources of income; create a financial plan for themselves; understand credit and saving and investing," DESE said in a statement.

The board decided to create the group because there were requests from the financial and banking industry to update the state requirements. 

"The world of finance and banking has changed dramatically in the last 10 years," said Sarah Potter, communications coordinator for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said. "We need to ensure our students have the most current information."

DESE is "hoping the work group will give the state board recommendations on updating what students should know about personal finance," Potter said.

Personal finance classes are typically taught at the high school level during sophomore and junior year.  

Columbia Public Schools offers personal finance classes during junior year. 

The class is offered during the regular school year, during summer and as an online course. 

"The school district decided that, for reasons of maturity and also proximity to adulthood, taking it as a freshmen might not have the impact that we wanted," said Dr. Jeniffer Rukstad, principal of Rock Bridge High School. 

She said knowledge of personal finance is an important part of being a responsible citizen and adult.

"It is a topic that really was somewhat ignored before the requirement unless students happened into the right business courses," she said.

Rukstad said high school students don't always show an interest though. 

"I don't know that we get a lot of evident clues about how students feel about personal finance at this age," she said. "Some students are forced into thinking about it because they're already budgeting, they work and they are part of their family's financial package."