In the News

Massachusetts Jump$tart hosts Annual LifeSmarts Competition!! 

The MA State Champions–Team Milton Strong from Milton High School pictured here with the MA Jump$tart Board of Directors and Bill Nagle from the MA Credit Union League!

LifeSmarts, an educational competition that tests middle school and high school students nationwide on real-life consumer issues through online quizzes and live competition hosted its Massachusetts statewide competition on Tuesday, March 18. The winner of the Massachusetts competition, Milton High School, will advance to the 20th annual National LifeSmarts Championship, held in Orlando, Florida on April 26-29.

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League, the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, and this year it is celebrating its 20th anniversary. For two decades, the LifeSmarts program has educated the next generation to be savvy consumers. In 2013, Milton High School from Milton, MA advanced to the National LifeSmarts Championship in Atlanta, competing against more than 30 other state champion teams for the national title.

This year, the Massachusetts LifeSmarts competition is being coordinated by the Board of Directors of Massachusetts’ Jump$tart Coalition. The Massachusetts Jump$tart Coalition strives to promote the teaching of personal finance in classrooms, improve teachers’ personal level of financial literacy, and introduce teachers to new resources to incorporate personal finance best practices into their lesson plans. Its members and partners provide teacher trainings, symposiums, conferences, student assistance, and create special events for consumers throughout the commonwealth. Jump$tart is a national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the financial literacy of pre-kindergarten through college-age youth by providing advocacy, research, standards, and resources that will prepare students to make responsible financial decisions.

Link to the press release can be found here. 

Champlain College Center Grades 50 States on Personal Finance Education in High Schools

Study Finds Most Financial Literacy Programs lacking-Massachusetts get a Grade F when it comes to teaching Financial Literacy (full article can be found here

Responding to a national need to produce more financially literate citizens, Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy has issued a report card that grades the 50 states in terms of their efforts to strengthen personal finance education in high schools. “The focus is on high schools because that is where data is and it’s where personal finance education belongs,” says John Pelletier, director of the center. “For many Americans, education stops at high school.  A college education is not the solution. Very few colleges offer a personal finance elective for student to take and just a few institutions require personal finance instruction as a graduation requirement.”

The state grades are based on financial literacy legislation summaries maintained by National Conference of State Legislatures for the last 14 years and on reports issued by the Jump$tart Coalition and the Council for Economic Education. Researchers at the center double-checked inconsistencies with additional research, but the grades are only as accurate as these public sources of information.
Inaccuracies could result in grades that are too lenient or too harsh.

“We were only able to give 40 percent of states grades that you would want your children to bring home from school—grades A or B,” Pelletier says. “My dream, of course, would be for all states to earn an A grade. I hope that over the next year the states with grades C, D and F will do much more to bring these critically important topics to their high school students.”

The outlook in Massachusetts according to Declan J Sheehy, President of the Massachusetts Jump$tart Coalition is an embarrassment and a wake-up call for a state that is ahead of the curve in so many other ways. The overall grade for our state is F; even though finance topics are included in the state’s educational guidelines the state has no requirement that school districts teach these topics. There is no personal finance requirement, according to Jump$tart, though certain schools do teach it as an elective. In Massachusetts, more than 20 bills have been introduced in the legislature since 2005 to make financial literacy a requirement but all have failed. (Source: NCL Summaries). The Massachusetts Jump$tart Coalition strives to promote the teaching of personal finance in PreK-12 classrooms,  improve teachers’ personal level of financial literacy and introduce teachers to new information, techniques, and resources and to help them bring personal finance into their classrooms.

States with an A Grade (7 States or 14%)Georgia,Idaho,Louisiana,Missouri,Tennessee,Utah, andVirginia.

States with a B Grade (13 States or 26%) Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.

States with a C Grade (8 States or 16%) Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

States with a D Grade (11 States or 22%) Florida, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wyoming.

Flunking States (11 States or 22%)Alabama,Alaska,Arkansas,California,Connecticut,Delaware,Hawaii,Massachusetts,Nebraska,Rhode Island andWashington.

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PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          

April 3, 2013

Contact: Declan J. Sheehy                                                                                             declan.sheehy@gmail.com                                                                                               Massachusetts Jump$tart Coalition

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declares April to be Youth Financial Literacy Month in cooperation with the Massachusetts Jump$tart Coalition.

In declaring Youth Financial Literacy Month, Governor Patrick recognizes the state-wide efforts to improve financial literacy inMassachusettsand the tireless efforts of many parents and educators to prepare our youth with the skills needed to navigate tomorrow’s complex economy.

Massachusetts Jump$tart is a statewide, all volunteer, non-profit association dedicated to improving the personal financial literacy of children in theMassachusetts. We are also a proud state affiliate of the National Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. The National Jump$tart Coalition, based inWashington,D.C., was first convened in 1995 and consists of over 200 organizations committed to improving the financial literacy ofAmerica’s youth.

Lawrence Glazer, Chairman of Massachusetts Jump$tart Coalition and Managing Partner of Boston-based Mayflower Advisors, an independent investment firm, shares, “parents and educators are increasingly realizing that teaching our youth financial literacy is more important than ever.  Without the basic financial skills, they will not succeed.  Teachers incorporating financial skills into the classroom from K-12 will lead to high school graduates who can manage their finances and therefore contribute to the growing economy.”

“Making financial literacy a top priority inMassachusettsacknowledges the hard work of parents educators, and community groups,” said Declan Sheehy, President of The Massachusetts Jump$tart Coalition.  “We applaud the Governor for taking this bold step to recognize the important of teaching our young people about financial literacy.”

For more information, please go to http://majumpstart.org

May 26, 2013
the NEWTONITE
Students from around the state to compete in Financial Regatta Event

October 15, 2012
The Berkshire Eagle
Economy Experts to Host Forum and Teach People How to Balance Their Budgets

July 30, 2012
WBUR 90.9
Are Most MA Residents Financially Literate?

July 11, 2012
CNN Money
5 Champions of Financial Education

June 19, 2012
New York Times
Debit Cards on Campus

April 30, 2012
Huffington Post
Closing the Gap in Economic Education: Financial Literacy Begins in the Classroom

April 18, 2012
Jump$tart National Conference, Washington, DC
Prepared Remarks by Richard Cordray before Jump$tart

Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

April 2011
Making the Case for Financial Literacy

May 24, 2009
Boston Globe
It’s time to rethink financial wisdom

March 15, 2009
Market Watch
Few states require personal-finance education – is it time for change?