A House bill (HB 1115) composed by Demi Busatta Cabrera that would require Floridian high school students to take courses in financial literacy and money management in order to graduate passed through the PreK-12 Appropriation Committee on Wednesday morning, receiving unanimous support among members.
If passed, the bill would require financial literacy standards to be implemented for high schoolers starting in 9th grade coursework. The changes are planned to take effect for the 2022-23 school year. Covered topics would include opening and managing a bank account, how to assess the quality of a depository institution’s services, and basic literacy skills regarding interest and loans.
“HB 1115 guarantees Florida students receive a financial education to prepare them for success after high school, regardless of where they choose to take that next step,” said bill author Cabrera. “This bill will make sure that students know banking practices, money management such as spending, credit scores, lending, loan application, basic principles of insurance policies, and local tax policies.”
Should the bill be enacted, the present number of electives credits required to graduate would decrease. Current requirements mandate that high school students complete 8 hours of electives. HB 1115 would change the elective requirement to 7.5 credits.
Though the bill received widespread support, Rep. Matt Willhite voiced concerns about its intricacies.
“I think when we start decreasing our electives and start increasing the directions in which we are forcing our kids to go, I don’t know if that’s always the right way,” said Willhite. “I do support this policy and I think this is the right direction, but my only concern is that if there is an area where a half-credit course is not a possibility. What if there are schools that don’t offer the right timeframes on it.”
State CEO Jimmy Patronis weighed in during the meeting, offering his support.
“Financial literacy is an important key to a strong financial future and learning the basics of credit, budgeting, savings, and investing, can further prepare students for a successful future,” said Patronis. “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. I applaud the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee for taking action today to move this legislation forward and a huge thank you to Representative Busatta Cabrera for setting students up for success in and out of the classroom.”
HB 1115 has breezed through each stop in its legislative path, making its way through both the Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee and the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee, moving closer to a full House vote.