Learning About Money
When he goes shopping for video games, Connor Jackson is careful to find the best deal. His mom says he’s always been good at finding bargains.
While her son has developed his money smarts himself, Lydia Jackson wonders why this isn’t a skill being taught in schools.
“I would think it’s more important to learn how to manage money than it is to do algebra,” she says. She’s not alone. When polled, 87 percent of Americans say that financial literacy should be taught in schools.
But the reality is that only 17 U.S. states require students to take a personal finance course. Only 20 states require a course in economics, but that course may or may not include information about personal finance.
Aidan Ferguson is a personal finance teacher in Roanoke, Virginia, one of the states that emphasizes financial literacy. He has been teaching the required financial-literacy course at Thomas Jefferson High School for eight years. He enjoys his work and sees its importance every day.
“I’ll have a student come up to me a year later and say ‘Thanks, Mr. Ferguson. The lesson you taught on college costs has been coming in handy as I apply to schools,’” said Ferguson.
He also noted that money is a topic that many students like. They are very engaged and stay interested in the material throughout the entire semester. “There’s never a problem with students not doing their homework – when homework is comparison shopping for fast food items,” he said.
The Commonwealth of Virginia mandates that students take a semester-long financial-literacy course before they graduate. Ferguson believes this is changing lives for the better and that his students will become better consumers as a result. He wishes more states would adopt this policy.
As for Connor Jackson, who lives in a state without a financial literacy requirement, he’s left to learn from his parents and his own experience. “I would take a course like this if my school had it … and I’d probably get an A,” he said.
Lobby area in the CNN center
Walking into CNN, I felt a sense of excitement. I felt ready and eager to begin my career. Even though I won’t be going into news, I still liked being in a professional environment with such accomplished people.
When we started the tour, Monte Plott, tour guide and Digital News Editor at CNN, told us the history of the CNN building and mentioned that it used to be the world’s only indoor amusement park.
The first place we visited was the newsroom. There were tons of, with people researching national and international stories for the next headlines to report. Here, Plott said that they produce 40-to-50 stories a day.
From there the tour became more in-depth. We visited the control room, where we could see everything on-air at that moment. Plott said the control room functions as the brain center for programming, ensuring that the news anchors stay on-script. We saw this process live with Wolf Blitzer.
Overall, the tour was great and informative and I felt lucky to be able to learn so much from a seasoned journalist. When asked if he had any sage words for us, Plott said, “The only thing we (journalists) have going for us is credibility. If we lose that — if get things wrong, doesn’t matter why or how we got them wrong, just that we screwed up — then we’re out of business.”
Angela Robinson is a senior at Georgia State University (GSU) studying journalism with a concentration in public relations and minor in marketing. Her goal is to work in communications at a public relations or marketing firm with a focus on lifestyle brands.
Robinson is a native of Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Long Island. She attended Indian Springs School in Birmingham, Alabama.
In high school, Robinson sang in the choir, was a member of the Key Club, served as proctor in her dorm and played on the softball team.
Her original career choice was to become a doctor. She had plans to become a pediatric endocrinologist. Later, she realized her passion was in journalism and marketing.
After becoming a journalism major, Robinson is gaining as much college experience as possible. She spent a semester working for the Black Student Alliance and Dominion City GSU supporting public relations and marketing.
She also is a Residence Hall Association representative.
Robinson interned at Georgia Equality, an LGBT+ organization, from May-August 2017. Her first endeavor was creating event materials for the organization’s yearly gala, Evening for Equality. She worked on group power mapping, as well as editing press releases and writing media advisories. Angela also put together “festival bins” – comprised of literature and prizes – that would be taken to Pride events and festivals across the state. During her time there, Robinson learned how to work in a close-knit team in a nonprofit environment.
Upon graduating, Robinson wants to go to work in her field right away.