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Financial Literacy Standards Added to Washington State's K-12 Curriculum

Washington State is the latest state to adopt standards for financial education in K-12 schools, the Seattle Times reports.

The state's new financial literacy standards were adopted earlier this month. They're based on a national model created by the Council for Economic Education and cover topics such as credit and debt, employment and income, investing, risk management and insurance, and financial decisionmaking.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn told the Seattle Times that financial education is important for students: "They need to know what interest is, how to calculate taxes, when to begin investing. Giving them those tools may help us avert the next financial crisis."

The number of states that include standards for financial literacy has been increasing in the past decade, according to a survey from the Council for Economic Education. At the start of 2016, 45 states included include financial literacy in some part of their K-12 standards. At the same time, fewer states are requiring that students study economics. 

Anand Marri, an associate professor of social studies and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, said in an interview with Education Week earlier this year that standards are "just a tiny step. We need to think more about economic literacy, which is all about creating engaged democratic citizens who understand both the macro and micro forces that affect their lives."

A 2014 Harvard Business School study found that taking a financial education class in high school wasn't associated with better ultimate financial outcomes, according to an article from NerdWallet, a consumer financial company. But going to school in a state with well-developed standards in financial literacy was, concludes a separate study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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