PVHS Introduces New Required Financial Literacy Course
By Ryder Navarra
In March of 2022, Florida Govenor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1054, also known as the “Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act”, which will require students who enter high school in the 2023-2024 school year to take a financial literacy course by the end of their senior year. The financial literacy course is a semester course, requiring students to learn the basics of budgeting and saving money for their future and out of high school lives.
Currently, there are two semester classes that seniors must take to meet the current graduation requirements, those being U.S. Government and Economics. The two semester courses fit into the time slot of one class very smoothly, with the same teacher teaching U.S Government semester one, and then shift into Economics in the second semester. The established norm of taking the mandatory semester courses together has been a long rooted one, so the new course introduces complications in scheduling.
With the mandatory addition of the new course, a problem arises about scheduling, as there are no other semester long courses to pair it with to bridge the gap in student schedules. The potential scheduling problems the course creates has raised the question as to how Ponte Vedra High School will handle the issue.
“We are working on a progression that will satisfy this new graduation requirement,” states PVHS Principal, Dr. Oberkehr. “The current freshman class is required to have this course for graduation. We are looking at a number of alternatives to match up with the semester Financial Literacy course. There is a full year course that will be available as well.”
The proposed concept of the year-long variant of the course solves the scheduling gap problem the original class opens, but many seniors may not be open to taking a course for a full year, when the graduation requirement only asks for one semester. The yearlong course would dive into more budgeting and money saving principles, with the addition of more in-depth explanations and exploration into the standards the course has.
Currently, Ponte Vedra High School does not have a system in place for taking only one semester course in a time slot. The new required course will make many seniors’ schedules open to change in the coming years. Although the Financial Literacy course can be taken throughout the full year, it may be more convenient for many future seniors to only take it in the one required semester as many seniors desire modified schedules.
One solution could be adding the new course to the related economics class. “I do believe financial literacy is better in its own course,” states PVHS Economics teacher, Jennifer Popp. “The economics curriculum is already packed with standards and trying to cram all the standards into one course is a disservice to both courses. While some families may teach financial literacy to their children… there are far too many across the state who do not, leaving them without valuable life skills.”
With the mandatory requirement of the course, it is inconclusive at the moment as to how the school will handle it. A concept that has been floating around is to have the class be at the end of the day, and when the second semester comes around, students just end the year with a modified schedule, but with that comes the issue of students not having a reliable way to leave campus. The course is also available at Florida Virtual School, so many students may opt to take the online option to meet the requirement. However, with the class of 2027 being the first graduating class needing to take the required course, the school will have around two years to conclude to how they will handle the newly required course.