We live in a society in which schools are responsible for everything. Parenting is no longer such a hard job if you can just push your responsibility off on the schools. There was a time when parents raised their own children and taught them necessary life skills, and schools were there to teach reading and math and science.
No more. Schools now seem to be the primary source of parenting for children. I knew we were in bad shape when schools started serving breakfast to students because the parents weren't capable of feeding their own children. Parents apparently can't be counted on to teach their kids about the birds and the bees. They can't teach them about peer pressure. They can't teach them right from wrong and a whole lot of things that my parents did just fine with.The current problem is that parents aren't capable of teaching their children about money. A survey found that high school seniors can only answer less than half of personal finance and economics questions correctly. I suppose it doesn't come as any surprise. Look at the mess adult consumers have gotten themselves into with credit cards, auto loans, and home mortgages they can't afford. I guess they really aren't qualified to teach finance principles to their children.
At some point, however, we have to reduce the burden on schools. The logical answer to this problem of financial illiteracy is to force schools to offer classes in personal finance. Yet our nation's schools are failing in even teaching the basics to children. How are they going to keep adding subjects to the roster?
Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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