From the office of Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot:
As many of you are aware, I am a staunch supporter of financial literacy education for young people in our state. As Comptroller, I have experienced the consequences of our nation’s economic crisis on families throughout our state, and am painfully aware of the lives that have been forever changed due to a combination of predatory financial behavior on Wall Street and uninformed financial decisions by Maryland consumers. To help safeguard our children from a similar fate, I believe that all Maryland public school students must complete a standalone course in personal finance in order to receive a high school diploma.
Four progressive counties have already recognized the importance of this information and mandated financial literacy education in all their high schools. Carroll, Talbot, Baltimore, Charles and Allegany counties are truly models for implementing this program at little or not cost to the school system. While I applaud their leadership on this crucial education reform and consumer protection initiative, I am afraid that failure to provide all Maryland high school students with this same body of knowledge will place them at undue risk in today’s complex financial world.
As the new academic year begins, so too does our campaign to require Maryland’s public school students to pass a standalone course in financial literacy in order to graduate from high school. Thanks to the hard work of a bipartisan coalition of teachers, students, business leaders, consumer advocates and public officials, we came closer than ever last year to getting a financial literacy bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly, and I am confident that we will complete the job in 2012.
I am also excited to announce a new initiative that will reflect the urgency of this effort and the strong support that it has earned among Maryland families. In late September, I will announce a petition drive to gather the signatures of 10,000 Marylanders in support of a statewide graduation requirement. It is my intent to have these signatures collected by January 11, 2012 — the first day of the 2012 Maryland General Assembly — and to personally deliver copies of the petition to legislative leaders from both parties.
It is a very ambitious goal, and if we are to succeed, I need your help. A PDF copy of the petition is attached. Please begin collecting signatures now — whether from education stakeholders and advocates within your communities, business and civic leaders who understand the consequences of failure, or working taxpayers who simply want to provide their children with the tools to succeed in the real world and avoid the past mistakes that so many of us have made.
I ask that you print off as many copies as you can fill – with your own named included — and to send the completed forms back to Ms. Christine Feldmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at (410) 974-2045.
Additionally, the petition can be found on my website at http://www.marylandtaxes.com/comptroller/initiatives/literacy/. Please forward this link to family and friends to sign.
Should you wish not to receive further emails about this topic, you may also contact Ms. Feldmann. Otherwise, I thank you for your support for financial literacy for Maryland’s children.