The Stockton Center for Economic and Financial Literacy houses the southern regional office of the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education (NJCFE). NJCFE is part of the Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Education, a non-profit corporation, to help bring financial literacy to persons of all ages. NJCFE also collaborates on programming in financial and economic literacy with the Council for Economic Education.
We live a globalized economy that operates 24/7, around the clock. A financial market is open somewhere in the world at all hours of the day and across the international date line. There are regular, periodic news releases of indicators and statistics that measure the pulse of economic health as well as forecasts for the future of the economy and business: stock prices and indexes, consumer prices, bond prices, interest rates, consumer credit, employment, housing starts, retail sales, corporate profits, etc. How do we learn about all of these concepts, how they relate to one another, and how they affect the personal finances of households?
In school, of course!
A key site of learning—whether it is financial literacy, economic literacy, information literacy, or knowledge in the arts and sciences—is K – 12 education and in colleges and universities. New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards specify in rich detail the knowledge and skills required in order to graduate from high school. Personal finance and economics requirements begin early, with students who need to explain how income affects spending and take-home pay and understand what a budget is by the end of Grade 4. The content becomes more complex by Grade 8 where students need to be able to evaluate financial institutions, develop financial planning strategies, and summarize the causes of personal bankruptcy. High school graduates should be able to explain such things as how predicative modeling determines credit scores, the impact of events and economic conditions on stock prices, consumer protection laws, and taxes and employee benefits.
The Center works to coordinate, develop, and promote a number of projects and we welcome your ideas and suggestions. We work in the keys areas of personal finance, income and careers, and economic literacy. Among the things we do:
- Offer Professional Development (PD) programs for teachers through Stockton’s SRI & ETTC and the School of Education
- Evaluate and customize pre-existing lesson plans and curricular materials that are found online and in other formats
- Develop original lesson plans and teaching materials for use in the K – 12 classroom
- Design assessment plans and techniques for economic and financial literacy content and curricula
- Help coordinate the annual NJ Saves project (part of America Saves Week), the national Stock Market Game™, the national EconChallenge, and the national Financial Capability Challenge competitions
- Advise about research on the effectiveness of financial and economic education and publish occasional briefings about developments