Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Learning for life's greener pastures

| March 17, 2021 1:00 AM

Please take time to read Brent Regan’s op-ed rebuttal today to Sunday’s editorial on school levies. Doing so will give you two very different views of an important issue.

Because peacekeepers are blessed — until someone shoots them in the arse, anyway — we’d like to start this round of controversy with two things everyone should be able to agree upon.

One, today we’re all Irish.

And two, speaking of green, our schools would do well to teach more financial literacy.

It’s a national weakness, actually, this inability of many Americans to budget properly, to understand the pros and cons of borrowing, to balance a checkbook — heck, to figure out (and remain disciplined) how to spend at least a little less than we make.

In Sunday’s Press, Rick and Kim Durbin of Silver Pine Wealth Management wrote a compelling piece on the importance of financial literacy. In their column, the Durbins referenced a website with which we were not familiar. And so at their urging, we explored

In addition to loads of useful tools for teachers and educators, one of the features that leaped off the home page at us was resources for youth. What student at varying ages wouldn’t be interested in:

• Pocket change coin collecting as a hobby

• A game of memory and knowledge about dollar bills and money symbols

• Videos teaching kids about advertisements and how they encourage people to buy certain items (OK, this probably wouldn’t appeal to really young children)

• The You Are Here game, where kids enter a virtual shopping mall learn how to be a smarter shopper

• And for those 12 to 20 years old, Money Smart for Young People, including the basics of handling their money and finances

There’s lots more, some of it as compelling as modern video games. Our, um, “research” ended up taking most of the lunch hour Monday — thanks to Peter the Eagle’s Coin Drop game, darn it. But we digress.

Research shows 78 percent of American families live paycheck to paycheck. That’s indicative of a bigger problem than low wages and high costs of living. Many people simply don’t have some basics down in how to keep their noses above the financial water line.

With adults at home setting good examples, our schools can add real value through increased emphasis on financial literacy.