As Maine educators, we share a passion for personal finance education, a subject that is taking off nationally. Not only is it growing like wildfire, but those who teach it and learn it often say it is the most important course they have taken in high school.

Students love this course because it is relevant to their lives, regardless of their paths after high school. They learn practical skills like how credit scores are calculated, saving strategies and how to file taxes, but they also establish sound long-term investing mindsets and discuss how to manage the pesky social pressures we all face to buy the newest stuff. It’s everything most adults wish they had learned in high school.

Here’s a few arguments for why personal finance should be a graduation requirement for all high school students in Maine, and throughout the U.S.

We both teach or have taught personal finance. We have been involved in Maine Jump$tart Coalition, a community of teachers and education advocates who champion the simple idea that all young Mainers deserve to develop financial literacy skills before they reach the real world. We gather for professional development events, networking, and sharing best practices for the classroom.

Personal finance education has a multi-generational impact, as students and families share the impact this learning has had on them. As we greet parents at open houses at the start of a school year, we tell them about the course, and parents are thrilled that their children would be learning personal finance information, as many of them had not been afforded that opportunity when they were younger.

Students are excited to learn “how to be an adult” when it comes to money. It’s extremely rewarding that students report that they go home to have financial discussions with their parents, and many of them even started their own savings accounts. At year’s end, they often speak about how they know now how to make better financial decisions, use credit cards correctly and invest for the future.


Imagine if every high school student in Maine had not just a quick overview embedded in another course, as is currently required, but also could instead take an entire course in money management.

Soon, we may not have to imagine this! If signed into law, Maine’s bipartisan bill, L.D. 1284, would guarantee that all Maine high schoolers take a standalone course of at least one semester before graduation. The bill is authored by Sen. Matthea Daughtry.

In an April nonpartisan poll conducted by the firm Public Policy Polling, 83 percent of our state’s voters said they “think all high school students should be guaranteed to take a basic course in personal finance,” and 84 percent said this bill’s passage is an urgent need.

Maine lawmakers can also review a robust and growing body of research that supports voters’ wishes and shows that students who take standalone personal finance courses in school end up managing their money better as adults. The course results in less debt, higher credit scores, greater personal income and a better quality of life overall. The same cannot be said for embedding this instruction in a rushed manner within another course.

Currently, there are 77 bills pending in 27 states in support of personal finance education. Since 2018, the number of states requiring all high school students take a standalone personal finance course before graduation has more than tripled, from five states to 18 states.

Maine can, and should, be the 19th state to adopt this common-sense policy. L.D. 1284 represents our best chance to give future generations of Mainers the skills and confidence to manage their money wisely. Let’s give Maine high schoolers the upper hand financially!

Fueled by real-world relevance, personal finance has steadily grown in popularity at our school. We are proud that it is a standalone course required for all Central Aroostook students for graduation. We are one of just a handful of schools in the state that has this guarantee for all our students..

It’s time to give all Maine students the upper hand financially.

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