Jan 15, 2010

Financial Literacy

I think that kids who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds are the ones who need the most exposure to new technologies and entrepreneurial skills so that they have an equal opportunity in competing with those from more affluent backgrounds in the future.

Although my school does not offer computer or technology classes (this REALLY saddens me), I've been working with an amazing friend and curriculum writer to bring financial literacy within the four walls of my English Language Arts classroom. Let me tell you. I knew my kids were bright, creative, motivated, and passionate. BUT MAN. I've now got to the gumption to say, "My kids are brighter, more creative, more motivated, more passionate, smarter, and will be more successful than yours." Hmph, take that prep school punks.

Allow me to bring you some very cute anecdotes from this week:
N: "Ms. S, what happens if I get hurt before I'm 65? Do I get my Medicare money?"
me: "No."
N: "Aww that's MESSED UP! I'm going to college so I can get a job that covers my health insurance."

Z: "I like gross pay."

E: "That was fun! I'd rather be an employer, even if I have to hand out paychecks and make sure all the bills are paid on time. I'd rather call the shots."

J: "It's important to know the components of your paycheck so you know where all your money is going. What if they did a miscalculation?! They'd be stealing all your hard-earned money!"

L: "Net pay is the money you get to keep after all the deductions are made. So if you originally had $2800, then your net pay would be about $2000, because you have to pay federal income tax, social security, state tax and medicare."

Now tell me, could you give me all that at the age of 11? Highly. Doubt. It.

When people work together, we can make Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream fly even further than he ever could have imagined. People who came from the projects, with parents working 2 or 3 jobs, English barely spoken at home, and no hot water until 3 in the morning, working alongside or even above people who came from 6-figure household incomes, private schools, and fancy zip codes. That's my dream. It feels good to make it come true a little.

Have a happy weekend in memory of our dear hero, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dreams :)


Mr. D said...

It sounds like you have a lot of financial literacy stuff already, but if you need more, I found some great materials last year: Lesson Ideas Using 'Practical Money Skills for Life'.

Krizia said...

Wow, thanks so much for this! It's great to look at and compare notes.

Jason P / InnerEd said...

This is a nice observation. I noted a similar social dynamic with my last English III class (also in the inner city) when we studied the American Dream. Over half of them didn't want to be NBA stars, rappers, or other stereotypical roles but business owners.

I just think that there's opportunities for learning in this field that many English teachers could be passing up here. If you're interested, I wrote a longer post about this on my blog, inspired by yours (which I linked to):