Have you ever wondered why they dont teach money in school? Over and over this conversation comes up. I was in a forum discussion last night with a group that got on the topic of credit. Again, the idea that it is not taught in school came up.
First, let’s consider a couple of things about money.
Money is an idea.
Money is based on Trust.
Pursuit of Money is dangerous.
I want to look at a couple of scriptures to clarify each of these ideas. The schools cannot teach these things, so they don’t.
1. Money is an idea.
Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. – Pr 8:10-11
2. Money is based on Trust.
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. Pr 8:17-19
3. Pursuit of Money is dangerous.
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. – Ecc. 5:10
The schools can’t teach these principles because they have to keep wisdom out. You’ve got to understand more about the history of our school system to realize that our schools were designed to create workers in the factories. They were designed to provide the lowest level of education, BASIC SKILLS, like reading, writing, and arithmetic. When you do find money being taught in school, it is very rudimentary and based on banking products more than actual money concepts.
Ask yourself this question. Who designs our financial programs taught in the schools? Let’s look at a few, shall we.
Jumpstart Coalition is a noble group trying to teach financial literacy, right? Look at their sponsorship. It is a list of 14 major banking brands that sell financial products. Then they have 10 Federal Agency partners made up of 7 financial agencies run by the government.
Dave Ramsey is an independent financial guru helping people get out of debt, right? It sounds noble and a lot of people have gotten out of debt using Dave’s systems, so I’m happy for them, but are they really learning about money? Look closely at his corporate sponsors. His largest featured sponsor is Fifth Third Bank. His other sponsors are made up of several banking organizations. His list of recommended services pay him kick backs when you use them, and they are all banking products. By selling their products, he makes money. Don’t get me wrong, some of Dave’s ideas I agree with, but the point is to follow the money.
Kids.gov is a government agency that teaches very basic ideas about saving money for ages k-8. Again, this is a government agency providing these fun games to ingrain bad money philosophy into our children. The thing is, I don’t think they are intentionally trying to ingrain bad philosophy, that’s me talking. I think they are legitimately trying to offer a solution. It’s just the same broken record in a different package.
Here’s the point. Our financial literacy programs in America are based on training and selling products that the financial system wants everyone to own. As a former banker, I used to think I was helping people with their money. I woke up one day realizing that the same people were coming into my bank with the same problems week after week. I started to realize that I was doing a great job selling bank products, but the bank products didn’t solve the real issues around people’s money.
Stop looking to the schools or to the government to solve your money issues or to teach our kids about money. It’s not going to happen. It is our job as parents to teach our kids about the ins and outs about true financial literacy. Things like understanding how money actually works at a basic level. We offer a short course called The Truth About ALIE that does a great job of laying down the basic foundation of money. There are so many different books on money that you can check out our recommended reading list for suggestions on where to start. I think our library of books is around 50 or 60 books I’ve personally read and recommend.
Watch the news to see what is happening in our schools. Parents are suing school districts for the mistreatment of their out of control kids. Parents fight the administration when their child is disciplined. Drugs. Guns. Shootings. Teen pregnancy. Bullying. Lower test scores. Illiteracy. The schools have lost control of the kids who have gained more authority than the teachers.
I know a lot of teachers and please do not take this comment as disrespectful. I do not want my children learning about money from the school system led by instructors who don’t understand it. They may be balancing their check book, paying their bills on time, and saving for retirement, but what you don’t see are the large number of teachers who have 2nd jobs and are struggling from paycheck to paycheck in a broken system. You don’t see the complaining about not enough pay and the cry for the school district and states to fix their financial problems, i.e. more pay, better retirement plans, and better benefits. No, this is not the group I want teaching my kids about money.
Parents, it is time to lift the veil and take responsibility for our kids future. Reading is important. Writing is important. Arithmetic is important. And every day of your child’s life, money is a factor that you are neglecting to teach your kids. If you don’t proactively teach your kids about money, they will learn from your example and from the banks who are slick willy salesmen whom we’ve grown to love and trust.
It is time my friends to wake up. Take responsibility. If you don’t know where to start, that’s ok. Pick up some books. We have a couple of courses in our bookstore starting in 6th grade that we’ve written. Others have courses out there that you can use. Just pay attention to what is being taught in them. Are they teaching banking products or are they teaching about money for real?
God Bless You!