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Nebraska mulls financial literacy education requirement

April 5, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Proposed academic standards for teaching social studies in Nebraska would require public school students to learn how to manage money and would encourage them to look at history from multiple perspectives.

The Nebraska Department of Education is seeking public input on the draft standards released Thursday, which detail what students in kindergarten through 12th grade will learn in history, economics, geography and civics.

The draft builds on standards set in 2012 by adding clarity and direction for teachers, said Harris Payne, the Education Department’s director of social studies. The department is required to update the standards every seven years under state law.

The latest guidelines offer fewer standards but go into more detail. They include guidance about overarching themes that teachers should be addressing at each grade level.

“We’re not giving them 100 targets, but fewer targets and more depth,” Cory Epler said, the department’s chief academic officer.

Under the proposed financial literacy requirements, high school students would learn about setting financial goals, managing debt and investing.

Students will also be encouraged to explore historical events from the perspective of marginalized groups, such as Native Americans, immigrants and people of various sexual orientations. The standards also address climate change and civic engagement.

The Education Department selected a group of teachers, administrators, college representatives and staff from educational service units to create the draft standards. The group worked to make sure the standards align with the state’s multicultural education law, Payne said.

The draft standards are “not perfect” and will likely be edited in the coming months based on public input, Epler said.

The State Board of Education is expected to vote on the revised standards in the fall.

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