Ontario elementary students are not getting the money lessons they were promised

Press Release (ePRNews.com) - TORONTO - Nov 25, 2016 - Does anyone still think that kids are learning about money in elementary school classrooms? Ontario’s Ministry of Education says they are but – long story short – they are not. New research has found that elementary students will learn just ten money-related words from Grades 4 to Grade 8 bringing into question Ministry claims that financial literacy is included in the curriculum. Basic money vocabulary, words like bank account, debit card, income, earning, saving, deposit, spending, expense, budgeting, borrowing, credit, compound interest, fraud and scam, cannot be found anywhere in mandatory lessons and neither can any reference to ‘wants and needs‘.

If parents want to be sure that their children are exposed to money lessons early in life, they had best be prepared to teach them themselves. In light of these new findings, in-home financial literacy educational efforts are more important than ever. When the education system doesn’t do its part, parents, some struggling on the financial literacy front themselves, must assume the responsibility for teaching kids about money.

The findings detailed in the report entitled An Evaluation of Financial Literacy Integration into the Ontario Elementary Education System (Barry, Ek-Udofia, November 2016) should be very concerning to a number of areas of government. In addition to the negative overall effect on long-term poverty reduction strategies, specific impacts attached to financial illiteracy may include new pressures on voluntary organizations who serve the less-advantaged and increases to community and social services program funding allocations. The absence of effective financial literacy education in schools has the potential to drive up the need, cost and use of the remedial programs now offered to support young Ontarians as they transition to independence. For advocates invested in building a better Toronto, a region where 28.6 percent of children live in poverty, the situation is disheartening given that Toronto students are among the 1.3 million young people being deprived of the ​benefit of a ubiquitous, high-efficacy, early financial literacy education.

“This evaluation has been published in the hopes that it will serve as a catalyst for change such that all Ontario elementary students, in particular those considered vulnerable-sector, will one day have access to a quality financial literacy education in the classroom,” said Tricia Barry, Executive Director, Money School Canada, a youth financial literacy advocate and the paper’s main author.

The Ministry of Education’s performance in the elementary financial literacy educational arena is out of step with international thinking and best practices. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publication Principles and Good Practices for Financial Education and Awareness, 2005  financial education should start as early as possible and be taught in schools. The OECD states that including financial education as part of the school curriculum is a fair and efficient policy tool and that building it into curriculums from an early age allows children to acquire the knowledge and skills to build responsible financial behaviour throughout each stage of their education.

“All young Canadians deserve the opportunity to develop the financial literacy knowledge, skill and confidence they need to grow into successful, included young adults. Education systems play a major role and have a responsibility to ensure that all students are given early access to the information, tools and training they need to be successful,” Barry added.

MAIN FINDINGS

The research found that the statement that financial literacy is included in the Ontario Elementary Curriculum is misleading.

Assertions that financial literacy is included in the elementary curriculum misrepresent the current state to stakeholders, at the provincial and national level, who are invested in student success and Canada’s future economic fabric. To date, more than 1.5 million young Ontarians have been impacted by the gap between Ministry of Education claims and classroom realities.

The two main findings that contradict claims of financial literacy inclusion are the non-compulsory nature of financial literacy lesson delivery in the classroom and the absence of curriculum content related to core money management essentials. Further evidence supporting the stance that financial literacy is not included in the elementary curriculum includes inadequate, under-utilized and under-funded professional development support for educators, low participation in professional development learning opportunities and the absence of concrete measures of student learning outcomes.

♦ Financial literacy is not compulsory learning for students. Educators are not required to teach lessons suggested in handbooks, guides or booklets such as the Financial Literacy Scope and Sequence of Expectations Resource Guide. Core curricula lesson delivery is mandatory for the classroom teacher and, beyond this, financial literacy lesson delivery is optional.

♦ The content currently covered in the classroom is either ancillary to developing core money management competencies or has not been addressed in a manner or depth sufficient to warrant the claim that financial literacy is included in the curriculum.

♦ The process used for financial literacy integration did not follow the usual, well-defined Ministry curriculum review protocols or timelines.

♦ The Financial Literacy Scope and Sequence of Expectations Resource Guide, the main support for classroom teachers, is lacking a defined scope and has no discernible sequence. It does not include a master framework of student learning outcomes or expectations, it does not provide grade-specific expectations and it does not present a chronology of learning from grade-to-grade.

♦ Professional development opportunities available to educators are under-funded, optional, and under-utilized. Funding is not available for teacher-identified supports including classroom-based, job-embedded learning programs.

♦ Financial literacy educational efforts are not evaluated. Measurement methodologies to assess teacher participation, the nature or frequency of lesson delivery or the overall impact of the financial literacy education on student skill, knowledge and confidence are not in place.

For a copy of the full report entitled – An Evaluation of Financial Literacy Integration into the Ontario Elementary Education System (Barry, Ek-Udofia, November 2016) please contact Tricia Barry, Executive Director, Money School Canada at tricia.barry@moneyschoolcanada.com

Source : Money School Canada
Business Info :
Money School Canada

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