Teaching Students Financial Literacy


CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WKBW) — A New State Audit by the New York State Comptroller shows that most people don’t know enough about financial literacy. And he found that the state can do more to promote the resources available

But a number of schools are working hard to teach financial education to students.

“It’s really hard to know what you have to spend and love how to save – because it’s so easy to just blow things off and not even think about it,” replied Mya Pace, senior, Cleveland Hill High School, Cheektowaga.


Mya Pace, senior, Cleveland Hill High School, Cheektowaga.

Pace has just started working at the Olive Garden and now that she is making money, she realizes how quickly it is spent.

“You swipe it and then a week later I’m like ‘oh, I wonder how much I have’ and you’re just like – what? – because you can’t see the money leaving your hand. This n It’s not the same as if you have money, you can clearly say that – I’m out of money,” Pace described.

“If I could do what I wanted, we would teach personal finance in kindergarten about how to save money,” said Robert Haley, an economics teacher at Cleveland Hill High School.

Haley has taught economics in the Cleve-Hill School District for 22 years. He says students learn a number of financial things in class, from taking out a student loan to financing a home.

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Robert Haley, economics teacher at Cleveland Hill High School and student Mya Pace.

“Then we look at finding apartments. We’re looking for an apartment, the cost of apartments versus buying a house and of course the issue of mortgage rates and right now why renting might be a better idea,” Haley explained.

Haley tells me a financial lesson is about student loans.

“Student loans come in two forms, public or private and very often people don’t understand that and they get private student loans, which is unfortunate because they don’t have any discount like government loans,” Haley noted. .

In the West Seneca School District, Robert Merkle, Director of Vocational and Technical Education, also teaches financial literacy. The district has five academies, including a finance academy.

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Robert Merkle, Director of Vocational and Technical Education, West Seneca School District.

“One of the most important things is student loans. Our students, they sign up for these gigantic loans without really understanding the seriousness of it,” Merkle remarked.

Merkle says the classes touch on many different things that students will experience throughout their lives.

“Credit cards, good credit, bad credit, how a credit score is developed,” Merkle replied. “We ask them to choose their lifestyle, then we have them choose a house, what neighborhood do you want to live in and they actually go to Zillow or a similar program and they look at the cost of the houses. They look at the cost of taxes, then they have to choose a cell phone. They chose a car. They have to budget for auto insurance.”



Mya Pace, senior, Cleveland Hill High School.

Students also learn how to budget and file a tax return, which Mya will need to do now that she is working.

“And I was just like wow – money – it’s really hard,” Pace described.


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