Here's How You Can Help Teachers Meet the Financial Education Challenge
Dear Readers: What do dinosaurs and virtual reality have to do with financial education? A lot, according to teachers who responded to the most recent financial education Innovation Challenge sponsored by the Charles Schwab Foundation in partnership with DonorsChoose. The challenge asked entrepreneurial K-12 teachers to come up with innovative ideas to bring financial concepts to life in their classrooms. And innovate they did!
More than 1,000 ideas were submitted -- ranging from creating a dinosaur-themed money and number game for K-2 students to having middle schoolers budget for and take virtual reality field trips around the world right from their own classroom. Top projects were chosen by a panel of financial literacy experts and funded with support from the Charles Schwab Foundation. These projects were made available to teachers across the country in the form of lesson plans, all available through DonorsChoose. The result is a treasure trove of financial education ideas created by teachers for teachers.
Why This Is So Important -- and Encouraging
As a parent and a finance professional, I can't think of a better way to start off the new school year than with a focus on financial education. Recent research shows that while 92% of K-12 educators nationwide believe financial education should be taught in schools, only 12% include it in their classrooms. The reasons range from the lack of materials to not feeling qualified to teach the subject.
That's why the work done by DonorsChoose is so crucial. Working with citizen and corporate donors, they not only fund special projects and supplies but also teacher training, to enhance and enrich the standard curriculum -- not just in financial education but in all subject matters. The current stats from DonorsChoose demonstrate how they're succeeding.
Since its inception in 2000:
-- 83% of public schools in America have posted a project on the DonorsChoose.org website.
-- 3.9 million citizen donors have contributed.
-- $864 million in classroom funding has been raised by a combination of citizen donors and corporate/foundation partners.
-- 35 million students have been reached.