Connecticut governor signs league-supported financial literacy bill
July 28, 2023
The Credit Union League of Connecticut and credit unions joined Gov. Ned Lamont for a signing of a bill making financial literacy education a requirement for all seniors graduating high school in 2027. The legislation passed the State House by a wide margin of 138-12, and it previously passed the State Senate by a margin of 35-1.
Bruce Adams, CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut, has pushed for passage of financial literacy education legislation on behalf of his members for several years. In addition to seeking a graduation requirement, this year he renewed the League’s strong support for State Treasurer Erick Russell’s initiative to achieve funding for the first-in-the-nation Baby Bonds program, which invests funds on behalf of children born into poverty for wealth-building purposes and requires participants to complete a financial literacy course.
“For too many years, students living in impoverished communities in Connecticut have suffered from lack of access to basic financial literacy education that other students in wealthier communities have enjoyed. This lack of access perpetuated the systemic, intergenerational poverty trap in which many of our residents find themselves almost hopelessly stuck, but finally, this bill gives every student the access and opportunity they deserve and gives them an equal shot at a successful future,” Adams said. “I applaud the State Legislature for passing this by such a wide margin, and I cannot thank Treasurer Russell enough for being a true champion of financial education.”
“A strong base of financial knowledge can be the key to a future of success, independence and opportunity,” said Russell. “Financial literacy is a lifelong pursuit, from learning about dollars and cents as a child to preparing for a secure retirement. Providing this resource to our high schoolers is an investment that will last for the rest of their lives and have benefits that cascade through their communities and across our state. I’m grateful that Connecticut continues to make investments in our kids with both capital resources, like CT Baby Bonds, and education. I commend the legislature for their work and commitment, and advocates including the Credit Union League of Connecticut for getting this important bill across the finish line.”
Connecticut State Rep. Jeffrey Currey thanked the Credit Union League of Connecticut for its support of the bill. Currey is co-chais of the Education Committee.
The bill, Senate Bill 1165, requires a one-half credit in personal financial management and financial literacy for students to graduate from high school. The credit may be included in the Humanities requirements or as an elective.
Adams called this “landmark legislation” because it makes financial education part of the core curriculum and finally begins to narrow the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” in terms of equitable education.
He added that credit unions have supported this concept for years, because as community partners in cities and towns both rich and poor, they witness economic disparity and challenge every day. Credit unions know firsthand the value of understanding personal finances and how money works. He said the bill sends the very real message that the state will no longer turn a blind eye to lingering racial and social inequities that lead to widening the rich-poor gap.