On Thursday, Jan. 3, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, serving as acting governor, signed an NJEA-supported bill requiring schools to provide financial literacy instruction to students in grades six to eight. This bill had strong, bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature. Oliver released a statement shortly afterwards, citing the value of this important life skill.

“Financial responsibility is an important acquired and learned life skill and with the increasing financial challenges millennials face, it is a skill that must be a necessary part of our educational curriculum,” declared Oliver.

The new law, originally introduced as bills A-1414/S-1592, aims to arm middle school students with “sound financial decision-making” knowledge. The instruction must include content about budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance, investments and other issues associated with personal financial responsibility as determined by the state board.

NJEA supported the legislation, and NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty attended the bill signing at the Barack Obama Middle School in Jersey City.

“We were happy to support Assemblywoman McKnight’s legislation to ensure our students continue to get the education they both need and deserve,” said NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty. “This law will now expand the financial literacy curriculum into the lower grades and further the great work being done in our public schools to help our students prepare for and succeed in the world today.”

Schools would be required to provide this instruction beginning in the fall of 2019. The Commissioner must provide sample instructional materials that may be used by school districts to support the implementation of the financial literacy instruction requirement.

The full list of sponsors included Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D31); Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D31); Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D29); Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D20); Assemblyman Benji Wimberly (D35); Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D20); Senator Dawn Marie Addiego (R8); and Senator Ron Rice (D28).

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