Financial literacy 

Pilot program now in place at 12 high schools citywide

April 20, 2010


Chicago Public Schools and city officials were joined today by representatives of financial organizations from across the state to announce a financial literacy pilot program in 12 CPS high schools.


The curriculum, which was introduced in the schools this semester, is designed to provide students with real-world skills for managing their money and developing sound financial goals, officials said.


The CPS Office of Social Science and Service Learning launched the financial literacy pilot course for 900 CPS students citywide in February 2010. Eight core areas are part of the curriculum, including postsecondary planning, budgeting, saving and investing, spending, credit, insurance and an economic way of thinking. Students learn to develop realistic, measurable financial goals and plan budgets to achieve those goals.


“We are teaching our students about valuable financial skills that are critical to their future success. Every student should have a basic knowledge and understanding about financial planning, how to budget and how to spend and save responsibly,” CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman said. 


The semester-long program, funded by the CME Group Foundation and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, draws on curriculum provided by the National Endowment for Financial Literacy (NEFE) and the Council on Economic Education.  The Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust provided $175,000 in grants since 2008 to support the creation of a district-wide framework for social sciences including formation of an economics curriculum in partnership with CME and JPMorgan Chase.


The program takes the students beyond the classroom by requiring field experiences, including a college visit to a four-year university and a city college to speak with representatives about financial aid options. Students will also have access to "What’s Next Illinois," an interactive website that is utilized by the CPS Department of College and Career Preparation and every school.


Classes will also have the opportunity to visit the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Federal Reserve Bank and a bank within their community. By putting their knowledge in context, students will gain a greater understanding of the financial process on a larger scale.


Students will also be required to complete a service learning project within their school or community. They will share some of their new financial knowledge with their peers, elementary students or members of the community.


“We are very impressed with the leadership Chicago Public Schools has shown in launching this initiative,” said Ted Beck, president and CEO of the Colorado-based National Endowment for Financial Education. “This program is a very comprehensive and innovative model for teaching students the importance of managing their finances. What is happening in Chicago is an excellent model for what other school systems throughout the country should be doing.”


The course has been rolled out at 12 CPS high schools citywide including: John Hancock College Preparatory High School, Percy L. Julian High School, John F. Kennedy High School, Simpson Academy High School for Young Women, Frederick A Douglass Academy High School, Wells Community Academy High School, School of the Arts High School, Dunbar High School, B.E.S.T. High School, Hirsch Metro High School, Banner South and Vivian A. Summers.


Other key partners include: the Chicago Community Trust, Econ Illinois, the Illinois Credit Union League, the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, Illinois Extension, Junior Achievement, Credit Resistance Abuse Education (CARE) the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and the Chicago City Treasurer’s Office.


The announcement came during Money Smart Week, which focuses on financial education for persons of all ages. CPS is a prime participant in a variety of activities during Money Smart Week.


Huberman was joined by Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely, Beverly Meek, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility for JPMorgan Chase, and Joanne Dempsey, President/Executive Director, Econ Illinois-Northern Illinois University.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 417,855 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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