Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) will be providing teacher workshops and webinars in 2014 to promote financial literacy education, the result of a state law (N.J.S.A. 17:9-43.D) that enabled New Jersey credit unions to serve as repositories of public funds. Previously, only banks were authorized to hold city, town and county accounts in the state of New Jersey. P.L.2011, c.108 provides for specific details about this law.
As part of the legislation passed in August 2011, a designated portion of credit union profits for serving as public repositories are to be used for financial literacy education. The New Jersey Department of Education was authorized to select a non-profit corporation to provide the legislatively mandated financial education while the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance was given the charge to oversee the transfer of funds from credit unions to the designated financial education provider.
RCE responded to a request for proposal and was selected in 2013 by the New Jersey Department of Education to provide financial education. The $5,000 in funding provided for training in 2014, the first year that credit union funds are available for this purpose, is expected to grow over time as more credit unions are selected to hold public funds.
Building the capacity of New Jersey teachers to deliver high quality financial education programs in state schools is the focus of workshops that will be provided by Rutgers Cooperative Extension. A 2009 study by University of Wisconsin Professors Wendy Way and Karen Holden found that many teachers have had limited formal preparation to teach personal finance and feel limited in preparedness in both subject matter and pedagogy, especially in the technical topics of insurance and investing.
RCE Specialist in Financial Resource Management Barbara O’Neill is responsible for presenting two, full day financial education teacher training workshops, one in May and the other July. The first workshop, conducted on May 20, “Personal Finance Boot Camp,” was held at the New Jersey Department of Education Career and Technical Education (CTE) Institute at the College of New Jersey. The workshop was based on the Hard Core Financial Education Boot Camp Program that Rutgers Cooperative Extension delivered in cooperation with the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education in 2012.
The second workshop will be held on July 30 at Raritan Valley Community College. This workshop will feature presentations on financial capability metrics, common consumer frauds, and technology tools for financial education. Teachers can obtain continuing education credits for both workshops, which include a combination of subject matter content and hands-on learning activities.
Trained personal finance teachers are needed in New Jersey schools now more than ever. Revised graduation requirements, passed in 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, mandated that personal finance instruction be provided to all students in New Jersey schools. Starting with the high school class of 2014, a 2.5 credit course in financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy is required for graduating seniors.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension is part of a network of financial education providers in New Jersey through the Jump$tart Coalition affiliate called the NJ Coalition for Financial Education (NJCFE). As part of this ongoing collaborative relationship, several coalition partners are providing additional sponsorship funding for curricula and facilities rental and assisting with program marketing. Supporting partners include the NJCFE, the New Jersey Council on Economic Education, Affinity Federal Credit Union and the New Jersey Department of Education.