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378: Forcing Schools to Teach Financial Literacy

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Why is financial education not part of our school system?

To understand that, you have to understand where our school system came from. Our educational system started during the industrial revolution and was influenced heavily by the Prussian system.

What do you think of when you hear “industrial revolution?” I think of factories and conveyor belts. This was a time of massive production gains in the United States and a fundamental change in the way we live.

So not only did businesses need to produce more products with factories, but they also needed factories to create people to work in those factories.

Schools became factories for people. Students were treated like products on an assembly line, all learning the same thing at the same pace, much like widgets rolling off a conveyor belt.

The rich business owners were the beneficiaries of this system. They got a workforce ready to fit into their industries, and these workers were less likely to question or challenge the system because that’s not what they were trained to do.

Despite the fact that we have moved beyond the industrial revolution into the information age, the old education system remains. Lots of standardized tests, rote learning, and teachers seen more as authorities than guides.

Now, ask yourself why financial education isn’t part of our school system. It becomes pretty obvious doesn’t it? Why would a system designed to create a workforce teach them about money? After all, financial independence doesn’t exactly incentivize someone to continue working.

My guest on this week’s Wealth Formula is a young woman trying to change the system. It’s clearly an uphill battle but make sure to listen and hear how she’s planning to do it.

Yanely was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is one of the first in her family to graduate college. After two decades of school, she still can’t believe that she never had a class about making smart money decisions! Now, she’s on a mission to help young people learn about personal finance in a fun and engaging way!

After completing Teach For America, Yanely paired her love for teaching with her passion for financial literacy, creating a unique YouTube channel for people to engage with topics like budgeting, managing credit, saving and investing for retirement and more!

Yanely serves as the Director of Educational Outreach at Next Gen Personal Finance and is a member of CNBC’s Financial Wellness Advisory Council.