Report Title:

Youth Economic and Financial Management Literacy Education


Directs the board of education to add a mandatory one-semester economic and financial management literacy course to the public high school curriculum.


S.B. NO.












SECTION 1. The legislature finds that forty per cent of Americans indicate that they live beyond their financial means. Approximately one-half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Outstanding credit card debt among households more than tripled from 1990 to 2000, personal bankruptcy filings continued to rise in 2003, up 7.4 per cent from 2002, and personal savings as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product decreased from 7.5 per cent in the early 1980s to 2.4 per cent in 2002.

A 2002 study found that high school seniors know even less about credit cards, retirement funds, insurance, and other personal finance basics than seniors knew five years earlier. Although Hawaii requires that personal finance be included as part of its educational standards, it does not require that personal finance courses be offered or that students be tested on the subject.

A direct correlation exists between economic well-being and knowledge of personal financial management issues and skills. Lack of financial literacy poses a significant barrier for individuals seeking to achieve financial prosperity and stability. Personal financial education is essential to ensure that our youth are prepared to manage money, credit, and debt and to become responsible workers, heads of households, investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and citizens. Research indicates that as few as ten hours of personal financial education positively impacted students' spending and savings habits.

It is of the utmost importance to educate Hawaii's youth in economic and financial matters to prepare them for financial independence through the development of fiscal responsibility and financial management skills.

The purpose of this Act is to direct the department of education to add a mandatory one-semester course in economic and financial management literacy to the existing public high school curriculum.

SECTION 2. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302A-   Youth economic and financial management literacy course. (a) The department of education shall establish and maintain an economic and financial education course to be conducted at each public high school in the State. The course content shall be based on national standards and the needs of Hawaii's children. The board of education shall develop the curriculum, materials, and guidelines for use in its implementation.

(b) Every student, beginning with students entering the ninth grade in 2005, shall be required to demonstrate economic and financial literacy by successfully completing the course described in this section prior to the student's graduation from high school."

SECTION 3. Section 302A-1128, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) The department shall regulate the courses of study to be pursued in all grades of public schools and classify them by methods the department deems proper; provided that:

(1) The course of study and instruction shall be regulated in accordance with the statewide performance standards established under section 302A-201;

(2) All pupils shall be progressively competent in the use of computer technology; [and]

(3) The course of study and instruction for the first twelve grades shall provide opportunities for all students to develop competency in a language in addition to English[.]; and

(4) All pupils shall demonstrate economic and financial literacy by successfully completing one semester of an economic and financial management literacy course as provided in section 302A-  .

The department shall develop statewide educational policies and guidelines based on this subsection without regard to chapter 91.

For the purposes of this subsection, the terms "progressively competent in the use of computer technology" and "competency in a language in addition to English" shall be defined by policies adopted by the board. The board shall formulate statewide educational policies allowing the superintendent to exempt certain students from the requirements of paragraphs (2)[and (3)], (3), and (4) without regard to chapter 91."

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.