ON-Lion Letter
A study in the Spring 2016 issue of The Journal of Private Enterprise confirms that elementary-school students as young as third grade are not only able to understand key concepts about finance and economics, they're eager to do so. 

The study tested more than 2,500 Chicago-area third-graders before and after they completed a six-week financial-literacy course from Money Savvy Generation.  Until now, there has been little documented research that measures financial literacy in young children. 

It was conducted by Mark Schug, Mary Suiter, and Eric Hagedorn.  Schug is a professor emeritus of education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and director of the Office for the Advancement of Free Enterprise Education at the Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee, through which The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation supports his work.  Suiter is assistant vice president and economic-education officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  Hagedorn teachers at the University School of Milwaukee.

Their study, "A Collaborative Approach to Financial Literacy in the Chicago Public Schools," confirms what financial experts have been saying since the 1960s:  young children can -- and want to -- learn about money.  In fact, the 2,500 third-graders' attitudes and knowledge about money improved significantly after completing the lessons.  Schug and his colleagues reported that teachers liked it, parents liked it, and more importantly, the kids ate it up. 

"[O]ur effort reveals that children can make progress toward becoming financially literate," Schug said.  "This finding is important.  We would never expect adults to be competent at reading or mathematics if those subjects were not introduced early and repeated regularly in the school curriculum.  In the same way, economic and financial education ought to start early and be repeated often.  We have evidence that children across grades K–8 can make gains in their economic and financial understanding.  All we need to do is teach them."
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