Advocating for a graduation requirement in Kentucky – Fast Lane
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Advocating for a graduation requirement in Kentucky

The Governor of Kentucky signed a bill in March 2018 requiring that high school students take a personal finance course in order to graduate. The success of this legislation was due to the work of many policy makers, organizations, experts, and one dedicated teacher.

Alex Todd, a high school teacher in Kentucky, taught personal finance as an elective. He saw the positive impact the course had on students, yet he was aware that not all students had the opportunity to take the course. He raised his concerns to school administrators and organizations that were able to provide different levels of support to his advocacy efforts. He continued to work toward his goal of a financial education requirement even as some initial legislation failed. He created an appealing message that explained the importance of financial literacy as a life. He also leveraged the media. A local newspaper conducted a poll showing that 100% of respondents thought financial education should be offered in high schools. Todd was able to find specific policy makers who championed the cause by supporting new bills and garnering support from others. After several tries to pass legislation, House Bill 132 was approved. Starting with the 2020–2021 school year, all incoming high school freshman will be required to take a personal financial course to graduate. It’s a win for all of Kentucky, because strengthening the financial literacy of our youth benefits everyone.