New bill would require students to pass financial literacy class

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It’s no secret that many millennials are drowning in debt and struggle with their finances. 

Forbes reports that 38 percent of U.S households have credit card debt, averaging more than $16,000 dollars. Another 33 percent haven’t saved a thing for retirement. 

At Manor High School in Austin, Glynn Lindsey hopes his money matters class, an elective, will help change that for the next generation. 

In recent weeks, he and a dozen or so students were focused on the government shutdown.

“How can you run a business by losing $11 billion?” Lindsey asked his students. “You can’t.”

The class also covers taxes, different types of mortgages, saving for college, and how to buy a car. 

Melissa Palomo, a junior, said the class has been a huge eye-opener. “I knew very vaguely that those things existed, but I didn’t know how to deal with them, or what exactly they meant,” she said. 

To offer financial literacy to Texas’ 5.4 million students enrolled in public elementary or secondary school, Democratic Rep. Vikki Goodwin of Austin introduced a new law, House Bill 1182, that would make a financial literacy class mandatory for all Texas high school students.

Goodwin said she realized the magnitude of the problem when she worked as a realtor before entering politics. 

“I’ve worked with people who weren’t able to buy a home because their credit had been damaged,” Goodwin said. “Having this education might help more young adults be able to buy homes and just be able to live financially stable.”

The kids at Manor High who voluntarily chose to learn more about money believe the lessons they’ve learned would be useful to everyone. 

“It would be helpful to get this class, just to get that understanding that we should be saving,” Palomo said. 

If approved, the new law would impact high schools starting next school year.

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