On June 11, 2012, the Atlantic Council and PricewaterhouseCoopers gathered a cross-section of thought leaders from government, academia, the private sector, and schools from across the nation to discuss structural issues that inhibit effective financial literacy teaching education and training. While several problems were immediately evident—a severe shortage of teachers qualified to teach finance and economics, a lack of sufficient time and resources to teach all required subjects, and students’ unwillingness to learn a subject without tangible benefits—participants shared valuable success stories and actionable solutions.

Key Recommendations:

Expand the Mandate
  • Students in all states should be exposed to basic economics and learn financial vocabulary from a young age—and be required to demonstrate proficiency.
Make Financial Literacy Relevant, Real, and Practical
  • Through field trips, internship programs, job shadowing, and classroom simulations, students gain an appreciation of the real world applicability of personal finance.
Incentivize Teacher Training
  • Given the continuous flow of mandated curricula and requirements that teachers face, consideration needs to be focused on how to best support, inspire, and appropriately reward teachers who attend financial literacy trainings and bring the material back to their classrooms.
Utilize Technology
  • In order to fully engage students and leverage the abilities of the best and brightest teachers, online learning programs that expand the reach of the best teachers and lesson plans should be developed.
Develop a Test to Measure Impact
  • Without the ability to reliably measure the effectiveness of investment in financial literacy education, the subject is unlikely to gain traction nationally. This can include synching up with the Common Core Standards to track progress in a standardized way from state-to-state.

The continued and strengthened competitiveness of developed economies is a core concern of the Atlantic Council and PwC. As such, we are committed to leveraging the combined resources of government and the private sector to improve educational outcomes and bridge the talent gap.

For more information, please contact Garrett Workman, assistant director, Atlantic Council Global Business & Economics Program, at 202.778.4963 or gworkman@acus.org.