Yes, you read that title correctly. Our teachers and schools should not teach personal finance to our children. Almost all of our teachers, public and private alike, are not qualified. I even have an issue with many high school teachers teaching economics to our children.
Teachers Are Not Qualified. The problem with teaching personal finance, say in high school, is that most teachers at that level are not qualified to teach the subject to our students. Many of them have not learned the topics themselves. Most high school teachers have bachelor’s degrees in their area of expertise such as math, history, science, etc. Hardly any of them have a degree in economics or business administration. That’s not how you qualify in America to become a high school teacher. You have to have a degree in the subject you teach. The problem is that there is only one or two classes of economics that are taught in most high schools, not enough to warrant hiring a business major to teach those classes. Not to take anything away from our nation’s great teachers, my mother and wife both are teachers. But, in GA for example, they make history and social studies teachers teach a econ/finance class one out of the four nine weeks with practically no finance or economic background. My wife was petrified during her student teaching that she would have to teach classes on those topics because she had never even taken an econ class in college. We are potentially teaching our children incorrect information.
Financial Problems. One of my best friends asked me about getting his first tattoo, and I told him that he should pick a tattoo artist based on his talent, of course, and by how many tattoos he or she has on their body. I walked into a tattoo parlor once and the artist only had one or two tattoos on his arm. I immediately walked out of that store. I want my tattoo artist to be passionate about his craft. I want him or her to have full sleeves of tattoos running up and down his arms. I want my tattoo artist to have tattoos on his neck. That is one way to increase your odds on having an excellent tattoo and experience getting one. Why would we let teachers who earn peanuts in income, have a lot of personal and credit card debt, and have very little investments teach our children about personal finance. We need someone with a CFP designation teaching our children. We need someone who has followed the principles that they are teaching with their own finances. Most teachers thankfully still fall under a defined contribution pension plan, and their need for outside retirement investments is smaller than most workers in America.
It is a great idea to require personal finance in school if teachers are trained, knowledgeable, and passionate about the subject. But, sadly that is not the case. And, it is not the fault of the teachers. The American educational system is to blame. If teachers are thrown into the role of personal finance coach to our children, we are going to end up with ever increasing corp of mis-educated and still uninformed consumers graduating. Teaching personal finance in our secondary schools may be one of the answer to our nation’s debt and personal money problems but not the way we are tackling it now.