TEENS SET TO RECEIVE NEXT GENERATION OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION

NEFE Unveils New Edition of High School Financial Planning Curriculum

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLORADO—With the resounding theme of “All across the nation, financial education for a new generation,” the highly-anticipated 2007 edition of the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program® (HSFPP) was officially delivered recently to a national network of representatives who work to ensure the financial well-being of America’s youth.

During a four-day meeting held March 12-15 in Greenwood Village, Colorado, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) convened more than 100 individuals from their two HSFPP partners—the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA, and Participating Land-Grant University Cooperative Extension Services, and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and America’s Credit Unions.

“We are extremely excited to roll out the new edition of this extraordinarily-popular program and are truly enthusiastic over the tremendous response the 2007 version has received throughout this launch meeting,” said Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE. “With our partners Cooperative Extension Service and CUNA, we are targeting a whole new generation of young people who need personal finance education in their lives now, more than ever.”

Attendees at the High School Program kick-off event were introduced to all the components of the new HSFPP, shared strategies for launching the program in their states and received instruction on how to train high school teachers to deliver the program.

“With this edition, the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program has undergone the most extensive revision in the curriculum’s history,” said John Parfrey, director of the HSFPP. “This updated program has an attractive new look and feel, writing that is perfectly calibrated to teens and multiple Web sites for students, parents and teachers.

“After 18 months and thousands of hours of hard work by dozens of people, we feel we have created a program that can really help the nation’s youth to adopt positive financial behaviors to start them on a life-long path of financial responsibility,” Parfrey added.

As participants were acquainted with the revised HSFPP, they learned that the curriculum has been linked to education standards in 50 states, as well as to several national subject-area standards. In addition, the instructional design incorporates principles of multiple-intelligence and continuous learning. The goal is to take knowledge beyond the classroom. The new HSFPP will accomplish this by engaging families and financial professionals to help students move from classroom lessons to action in the real world. For example, rather than a student merely knowing what a checking account is, the student and parent might go to a bank and set up a checking account for the teen. Or, instead of simply reading about budgets, the student might actually create a monthly budget with the assistance of a financial professional volunteering in the classroom.

“We want teens to connect what they learn in the classroom to concrete actions that will build sound financial habits for a lifetime,” Parfrey said.

Another focus during the launch meeting was teacher training.

“We’ve always provided teacher training, but we are putting even more emphasis on it with this new edition,” Parfrey said. “We know that the more confident teachers are in their knowledge of the material, the more effectively they will teach the program. And that means better results for students.”

During the kick-off meeting, attendees explored the new High School Program Web portal (http://hsfpp.nefe.org), which will provide a steady stream of content for students, their parents and teachers, including online calculators, games, polls and real-life learning exercises. Participants also viewed an eight-minute video about the HSFPP and were given copies to use in introducing the program to school principals, superintendents, boards of education and others who make decisions regarding curriculum offerings in the nation’s high schools.

The High School Financial Planning Program, which has reached nearly five million students in all 50 states since its inception in 1984, is a seven-unit curriculum that teaches the basics of money management to young people at a time when they are developing habits and attitudes about money that will influence them for the rest of their lives. The seven units of the program are: Your Financial Plan: Where It All Begins; Budgeting: Making the Most of Your Money; Investing: Making Money Work for You; Good Debt, Bad Debt: Using Credit Wisely; Your Money: Keeping It Safe and Secure; Insurance: Protecting What You Have; and Your Career: Doing What Matters Most. The practical and noncommercial program is available at no cost to all high schools throughout the country.

The benefits that the HSFPP offers to educators include: a flexible turnkey program that has been classroom tested and evaluated regularly, frequently updated online resources and information that can be easily integrated into additional coursework.

“This program has acquired an exceptional reputation in terms of teaching teens the skills they need to manage their money wisely,” Beck said. “With this new edition and the enthusiasm evident during the launch event, the future of the HSFPP has remarkable potential.”

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