North Carolina will require high school students to take personal finance course to graduate

Starting next school year, high school students in North Carolina will be required to take and pass a personal finance class in order to graduate. 

The change was approved by the State Board of Education on Thursday. The new finance course will replace one of the American history courses students are currently required to take for graduation. 

Currently, high school students in North Carolina are required to take four social studies classes to graduate, including World History, American History I and II and American History: Founding Principles, Civics and Economics. 

Students will have the same credit hour requirement next year, however the classes will be changed to World History, American History, Founding Principles of the United States of America and North Carolina, as well as Economics and Personal Finance. 

David Stegall, deputy superintendent of innovation, reportedly said the change will put North Carolina’s curriculum in line with other states in the country. 

"U.S. history in 47 other states is one course ... so we’re not trying to go against the grain," Stegall told WRAL. "We were the exception before."

North Carolina’s 2019 Teacher of the Year, Mariah Morris, told WRAL that students are “hungry” to take the new course. 

"Hands down, they want this class. They were so pumped. They were hungry for it," she said. 

"They want to know about credit and debit, taxes, what W-4 forms are, W-2, how to budget, how to get grants for college, what fraud is, 401Ks, interest levels, how to get a mortgage [and] how to do business forms.“

However, not everyone is as enthused about the curriculum change. State Board member James Ford reportedly voiced his concerns about it at a recent meeting over how history is taught in North Carolina schools.

“I would love to talk about financial literacy, grounded in some macroeconomics of racial wealth gaps and all that, but I know that’s off the table,” Ford told EducationNC.

“A lot of this feels very problematic to me … This feels like an à la carte arrangement when it comes to history. As we think about creating global-ready citizens, it really frightens me.”

This story was reported from Los Angeles.