New bill proposes to teach financial literacy and personal rights in public schools

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) – An Alabama state legislator has proposed a bill that would teach public school students several important skills they could use later in life.

State Representative Prince Chestnut sponsored House Bill 259 for the 2022 legislative session. The bill would allow local public school boards to offer courses in personal finance, personal rights and good citizenship . These courses would be available as an option for students in grades 6 to 12.

According to the bill, personal finance literacy includes savings accounts, emergency funds and wealth building, among other lessons.

HB259 says students would learn how to financially plan for college, an important skill because many Alabamians leave higher education with thousands of dollars in debt. It would also show students the options they have if they need to apply for a student loan. According to Education Data Initiative, on average, students in Alabama leave school with $37,348 in debt and more than 615,000 students in the state have student loans.

Students not planning to go to college would benefit from the bill’s push to teach other financial skills like wealth building. According to the bill, wealth creation would include, among other things, courses on short and long-term investments and employer benefits. Students would also learn about the different insurance plans available to them when transitioning from their parents’ plan to company or private insurance.

It’s not just finance that this bill would teach, it would also show students how statewide voting works and what rights they have as American citizens. According to the bill, state election laws and procedures, voter registration and the operation of the party structure are things that this new program would provide. It also indicates that students would delve deep into the US Constitution and explain what rights they have under the Bill of Rights.

The bill says students will learn communication skills he calls “good citizenship.” This would include skills such as respect for the authority and property of others, honesty, and how to interact with law enforcement. According to the bill, students would learn how to interact safely with law enforcement during a traffic stop and other incidents involving law enforcement. They would also be informed about the legal process and discuss gang-related violence.

48 News reached out to Rep. Chestnut to comment on his bill.

Copyright 2022 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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