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California bill proposed to require a personal finance class in to high school students

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) - A new bill would require California high school students to take one semester of a personal finance class to graduate.

The California Attorney general introduced a bill requiring all California high school students to take a personal finance course along with​ an economics course.

The 2026 school year could start with students needing to take a personal finance course to graduate after the state attorney general introduced an initiative last week.

The initiative could be left for voters to decide on next year, but Mary Alicia Mcray says high school students should learn about self-financing sooner rather than later.

"People don't understand that credit card debt can just keep growing and growing and growing," Mcray said.

Mcray says she taught her kids and her grandchildren the importance of financial literacy at home, but says it would have helped being taught while they were in school.

A new study by Ramsey Solutions found that 88% of American adults do not think high school prepared them to handle money in the real world.

Thats a big reason why Salinas Valley Library offers a number of financial literacy resources from books to online access.

"Patrons can get information on medicare, on investing in the markets, as well as just planning financial success for the future," said Francis Hebert, Interim Deputy Librarian for Salinas Public Library.

The initiatve says there are potential costs to schools that could reach in the high tens of millions of dollars annually the first few years before stabilizing.

Costs would be related to hiring teachers, curriculum development and gathering teaching materials.

According to Californians for Financial Education, only one percent of California students are required to take a personal finance course as a condition for graduation compared to 48 percent annually.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.


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