Focusing on Financial Literacy

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

Depositing their quarters and nickels, elementary school students are learning their financial fundamentals at the Fifth Third Bingham Bank.

"It's actually a full service bank, we train the students who are actually, we call them Fifth Third Bank employees, and they function in the capacity just like you would see at a regular bank," said Paul Kelsey of Fifth Third Bank.

The bank is open every two weeks where students work as bank tellers, and even security guards, while their classmates deposit money they've saved and can withdraw at the end of the school year.

After his interview, 5th grader Zuhair Jafar landed the position as president of his school's bank.

"They teach us how to count money," Jafar said.

"The banking program is so important for students, especially in light of the economic situation the country is going through right now, we're teaching children how to save, secondly, we're teaching them to strive for long-term goals, that when you get money you don't spend it right then and there," said Freya Rivers, Principal of Bingham Elementary.

Students at Bingham Elementary are getting a head start on financial awareness and now state lawmakers are trying to bring that same money sense into the High School curriculum.

"If we can educate people how to properly use a bank, how to properly use a savings account, then we could save them lots of money just in cashing their check that's how basic this gets down to," said Sen. Mickey Switalski (D)-Roseville.

Switalski introduced a Financial Literacy Bill that would allow Michigan high school students to learn the basics of real world banking and finance as one of their four math credits.

"Everything that you would need to know to balance your checkbook, pay your taxes, figure out whether you should work second shift and get the shift differential, all the mathematics that you need in basic life," Switalski said.

The Financial Literacy Bill has already passed the Senate, then the House passed it with a few changes, and it's currently back in the Senate. If the governor signs it, the bill could go into effect next school year.

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