The Arkansas legislature strongly believes that financial literacy is important for students, so classes in financial planning are mandated for high school graduation, beginning with the class of 2021. Students will need to know about financial planning, household budgets, and taxes.

The Personal Finance and Job Readiness Act mandates that students receive instruction in grades 10-12 in financial literacy. They are required to take economics, but the law also proscribes additional topics.

Schools do not need to offer a specific course in personal finance.  The Arkansas Department of Education is to develop standards for personal and family finance, which can be integrated with existing classes.

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“We have written those standards. We are now taking those standards and embedding them into the economics course,” said Stacy Smith, director of instruction and curriculum at the Department of Education.

According to the bill’s lead sponsor, State Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock, many young people leave high school unaware of the financial situations they encounter soon in the real world.

“We hear from employers around the state quite a bit about employees changing jobs a lot or just having general employment problems that stem from personal finance issues,” Davis said.

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