General Assembly approves legislation to develop statewide standards in consumer education


STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Deputy Majority Whip Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) that would require statewide standards in consumer education.

The legislation (2021-H 5491, 2021-S 0349) would require the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, in consultation with the Rhode Island Department of Education, to develop and approve the standards in public high schools no later than Dec. 31, 2021.

“Many young people just don’t understand the complexities of credit and debt — what it means to have a mortgage that’s under water, or how high interest rates can bury them in debt for their entire lives,” said Representative Ackerman. “They don’t understand that paying the minimum on their credit card bills will keep them paying forever.”

The standards would include instruction in installment purchasing, budgeting, comparison of prices, credit and the law, employment and income, rights and responsibilities in the marketplace, money management, maintaining credit, saving, investing, protecting and insuring assets, and other personal finance or consumer economic topics of study.

“How can we expect our children to become financially successful adults if we do not teach them the core aspects of our financial system when they are in school?” said Senator Cano, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “This bill will ensure that our children leave the public school system with a firm and knowledgeable grasp on basic financial concepts that will help them succeed in their adult lives.”


“Learning the fundamentals of savings and investing, and how to maintain credit should be as basic as reading, writing and arithmetic in school,” said Representative Ackerman. “How else can we send them out into the real world and expect them to navigate such a complex financial landscape? I want all of these students to come out of school not only with the knowledge to build a skilled workforce, but with the knowledge of how to manage their personal finances instead of spending a lifetime in debt.”

The bill was requested by the office of the General Treasurer.

“When we equip Rhode Island students with personal financial skills early on, we set them up for financial success in adulthood,” said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “This law will help ensure that every student receives the personal financial instruction they need to make smart financial decisions and access economic opportunity throughout their lives.”

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.



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