A poll run by KOB 4 asked viewers, “Should NM schools require students to take financial literacy classes?” as its question of the day.
As of 3:54 p.m. on Thursday, the poll showed that a shocking 96 percent of respondents support mandatory financial literacy classes in schools, with only four percent opposing it.
The massive level of support from across the spectrum is another affirmation of financial literacy’s necessity in New Mexico classrooms.
During the 2023 Legislative Session, Republican and Democrat legislators in both the New Mexico House of Representatives and Senate unsuccessfully proposed mandatory financial literacy classes in state K-12 schools.
H.B. 279 from Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-Carlsbad) would have required financial literacy to be a prerequisite for high school graduation. S.B. 341 from Sen. Moe Maestas (D-Albuquerque) stated that “[p]ersonal finance shall be offered as an elective.” However, those bills did not make it through.
According to the latest scientific nationwide poll done by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) in late 2022 found that only 44 percent of adult Americans “feel confident making financial decisions because they had prior knowledge. In addition, 40% of adults feel confident because they had made and learned from a similar decision in the past.”
The low confidence number nationwide is alarming and calls on the need for mandatory financial literacy since the same poll also found that 88 percent of respondents say their state should require a semester or year-long financial education course for graduation.
“Some states already require students to take a financial education course, and some states are in the process of instituting this curriculum. Americans overwhelmingly agree that learning money skills at an early age is important. In fact, 80% of American adults wish they had been required to take a semester- or year-long financial education class in high school,” said Billy Hensley, Ph.D., president and CEO of NEFE. “This polling reinforces the national support for personal finance to be a part of learning in all schools.”
In future legislative sessions, the strong support for financial literacy in New Mexico and nationwide may drive a renewed push for legislation to ensure this is a requirement of New Mexico public school graduates.