Legislation requiring that high school students be taught basic financial literacy passed the Senate today on a 44-4 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration there.

Senate Bill 5202, sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, would create Essential Academic Learning Requirements for financial education. The curriculum would cover basics such as how to manage a checkbook, how savings compound and provide financial security, and so forth.

“As the owner of two small businesses, I’ve noticed that a number of my younger employees lack the basic tools to make good personal financial decisions,” Mullet said. “These are good employees, and I want to see them do well, so this troubles me. I also suspect that young employees in other companies face similar challenges.”

Mullet’s legislation would provide instructional materials and resources to help integrate financial education skills and content into the state learning requirements. A public-private partnership made up of legislators, financial services professionals, educators and specialists from appropriate state agencies would collaborate on financial education standards, strategies for improving curriculum, measures to determine whether students meet financial education standards, and guidance for professional development.

“We all want our coworkers and neighbors to do well, whether they work with us for years or move onto other jobs,” Mullet said. “The better we all do as individuals, the stronger our respective households can be and the healthier our communities will be.”