DeSantis signs financial literacy bill into law

(The Center Square) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law requiring high school students to take a financial literacy course as a graduation requirement.

SB 1054, filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast, and multiple cosponsors, is named after former Republican state legislator Dorothy L. Hukill.

Hukill, an attorney and educator, served in both houses of the Florida legislature and as the mayor and vice mayor of Port Orange. She died in 2018 from cervical cancer.

DeSantis signed the bill at a press event at Innovation Preparatory Academy in Wesley Chapel. Joining him was Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and state Senate President Wilton Simpson.

“Financial literacy is an important life skill for a student to have,” DeSantis said. “Ensuring our students have the skills to manage their finances and perhaps one day own a business will pay dividends for our state.”

“Senator Hukill was a personal friend, and it is my deepest honor to fulfill her legacy,” Sen. Travis Hutson said in a statement. “Every student should learn financial literacy before they graduate and start making real life financial decisions. I cannot thank the governor enough for not only the bill signing but also helping Florida’s graduates be better prepared for tomorrow’s future.”

According to the bill, students will be required to earn one-half credit in personal financial literacy and money management, including learning about types of bank accounts, credit scores, taxes, and debt management. It also builds on Corcoran’s work to eliminate Common Core and implement B.E.S.T. (Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking) standards for math. The standards now include financial literacy curricula for ninth through 12th grades.

A teacher at Innovation Preparatory Academy, Aimee Nadow said financial literacy requirements will build on the work she’s already begun.

“We have lots of projects in our class that incorporate very important financial education and literacy and vocabulary that kids need to know,” she said. “We have done a quick start budget, how to invest, students are learning a little about crypto and the real estate industry. I think this is very important and I am very excited to continue building the curriculum that we have and sharing that with other educators.”

The new law doesn’t apply to students currently enrolled in high school. It will apply to students who enter high school in the 2023-2024 school year.

According to Education Week, Florida ranks third in the nation for K-12 education. This year, Florida public schools were funded at historic levels and public-school teachers received pay raises and bonuses.