Ontario elementary students MUST get financial literacy lessons too. Grade 10 is too late!

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Ontarians were told in 2011 that financial literacy is included in the curriculum in Grades 4 through 12. This wasn't exactly true. Now the Ministry of Education has committed that one-quarter of a half credit course will be dedicated to mandatory financial literacy education for Grade 10 students by 2018.

Almost ten years after it was first promised in 2009 Ontario students will be learning a little something about money in the classroom. Ontario's financial literacy curriculum proposal for Grade 10 students does not go far enough and it doesn't take advantage of the international financial literacy measurement infrastructure available to us through PISA! Educational program design includes three things: 1] What you are teaching aka the desired learning outcomes 2] How you are teaching the material and 3] The impact your initiative is having on your intended audience. Without robust, quantitative measurement of program efficacy there cannot be celebrations of success related to your specific effort, informed continuous improvement or the opportunity to take urgent corrective action if needed. Dedicating one-quarter of a course - that is only half a high school credit in the first place - hardly scratches the surface.

It is a great thing that Grade 10 students will be finally be learning a bit about money in the classroom but what of the elementary students that are still being left in the dust.

Despite universal agreement among experts across the globe that financial literacy education should 'start early' inaction is the order of the day. The 'start early' position is supported by international and domestic organizations including the OECD, FCAC, CBA, CA, ADVOCIS and in the recommendations of the Ministry of Education's own working group on financial literacy, yet curriculum-wise nothing much has been done.

Some teachers are doing awesome things in the classroom but if you use the mandated curriculum policy documents to inform your understanding of what is ubiquitously being taught to elementary students you will be very, very disappointed!

INCLUDE FINANCIAL LITERACY IN THE ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM because starting mandatory financial literacy education in high school is simply too late. Despite claims to the contrary new research has found that financial literacy is NOT included in Ontario's elementary curriculum. Again every working group, task force, think tank, and ​global ​financial literacy expert advocate​s​ early access to financial literacy education. Starting the education process early as young perceptions, attitudes and behaviours are being formed is critical to long-term success and economic inclusion - especially for vulnerable-sector constituents. ​​Starting in Grade 5 or 6 would be optimal.

The absence of effective financial literacy education in schools drives up the cost of remedial programs as these young Ontarians mature. The consequences of a financially illiterate population are felt broadly in the areas of Poverty Reduction, Children and Youth Services, Training, Colleges and Universities, and Community and Social Services. By leaving elementary students behind the Ministry of Education is squandering the opportunity to preempt some of the long-term financial and societal consequences of a financially illiterate population. Action is required!

Please sign this petition or contact your MPP if you agree that elementary students cannot be left behind and that concrete measures must be in place for Ministry financial literacy educational initiatives. ​Please feel free to contact me at tricia.barry@moneyschoolcanada.com or at 416.932.1300 should you wish to discuss ​this petition or to request a copy of the research paper entitled An Evaluation of Financial Literacy Integration into the Ontario Elementary Education System (Barry, Ek-Udofia, November 2016).



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