Overbey wins passage of legislation to strengthen financial literacy efforts in Tennessee Schools

Legislation strengthening efforts to ensure Tennessee has a strong financial literacy curriculum was approved by the full Senate on Monday night. Senate Bill 912, sponsored by Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) and Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), requires the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission, to develop guidelines to strengthen personal finance standards and require that certain financial literacy concepts are included as part of the testing standards for social studies.

“This bill continues our efforts to ensure students have an early foundation in the basics of money management to help give them the tools they need to make good financial decisions that will positively impact their future,” said Senator Overbey. “Tennessee is at the top of the nation in the number of bankruptcies and this legislation is an important step in helping create opportunities to teach good financial practices early in life to get us back on the right track.”

Overbey sponsored legislation in 2006 that established a financial literacy curriculum as a means to satisfy a high school credit requirement and has since continued his efforts to promote financial literacy in middle and elementary grades in Tennessee. Last year, the General Assembly passed a law promoted by State Treasurer David Lillard to create an 11-member Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission (TNFLC) to establish a state clearinghouse of information, resources, and assistance for improving financial literacy.

The Commission has been working with financial literacy efforts like the Smart Tennessee initiative, which is a statewide program to integrate financial literacy into the existing K-12 curriculum. Financial support for that program is provided through a unique public/private partnership between the State of Tennessee and First Tennessee Foundation and is now providing financial literacy curriculum across the state.

This year’s legislation requires TNFLC to conduct a formal review of personal financial standards taught in grades K-8 and recommend revisions to the Department of Education and the State Board of Education. This includes recommending the best means to incorporate the personal finance concepts into existing standardized Social Studies testing for grades five and eight.

“The goal of the curriculum is to teach children how to make sound decisions about money as well as other life choices,” added Overbey. “In the long term, Tennessee should benefit, but more importantly this legislation will have a positive effect on the lives of these individual students and their families.”

To learn more about literacy efforts and curriculum in Tennessee, visit: http://treasury.tn.gov/FinLit/FLCClearinghouse.html

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