Roaring Fork High School students advocate for classes on financial literacy
June 17, 2018
Roaring Fork High School students Stefan Platzer and Xio Alvarez took matters into their own hands this past school year and created a project to present to the Roaring Fork School Board for their Project Citizen assignment.
Project Citizen encourages high school students to get involved in community government and address a local problem. Platzer and fellow RFHS junior Alvarez hope to convince the school board to make a financial literacy class mandatory for every high school junior.
"We believe high school should teach us more life-important skills. In our opinion, one of the most important skills is basic financial management skills," they wrote in an email to The Post Independent.
Platzer and Alvarez distributed a survey to the student body of RFHS and received 101 student responses. Their study concluded that 76 percent of the students do not know how to do their own taxes or how to take out a student loan. They said in the email that they want to be sure that seniors leave RFHS with enough knowledge of financial management to be able to take care of their own taxes and loans.
“In our opinion, one of the most important skills is basic financial management skills.”
— Stefan Platzer and Xio Alvarez, Roaring Fork High School juniors
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Platzer, who studied at RFHS for a year abroad from Austria through the Rotary Youth Exchange program, said that he could not believe that high schools in the United States don't offer financial literacy classes.
"We have mandatory financial literacy classes for every high school student in Austria. We learn a lot about taxes, how to do your own taxes, how to do taxes for business, investing, how loans work, etc. and so much more," he said.
At Glenwood Springs High School, Jill Wilson has been teaching a financial literacy class for the past five years and was awarded the W!SE Gold Star Teacher Award in 2017 for at least 93 percent of her students passing the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Test during the 2016-17 school year.
The course at GSHS is optional, although most sophomores choose to take it. The course includes projects, case studies, life simulations, games and the test at the end of the year that certifies students as financially literate and capable of making fiscally sound decisions.
Platzer and Alvarez said that they were unaware of the course at GSHS, but said, "It's amazing that many more students are interested in a course like this."
Out of the 101 RFHS students that took Platzer and Alvarez's survey, 87 percent said they would enjoy taking a financial literacy class.
"I would also love to take a personal finance course because I believe that it is very important to know about these kinds of things, especially because we will have to live through it eventually," Alvarez said.
Platzer and Alvarez hope to involve other high school students in the district and the community on this issue through their website, which offers more information on their project and can be found at https://goo.gl/WdymQG.
"We hope that the school board takes this issue seriously and adds a mandatory financial literacy class for every junior. We hope that they don't just listen to us — we want that they change something," wrote Platzer.
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