April 15, 2011

Financial Literacy Month

[Page: H2670]  GPO's PDF 

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Illinois (Mrs. Biggert) for 5 minutes.

Mrs. BIGGERT. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize this April as Financial Literacy Month.

Each year my good friend and fellow chair of the House Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, Mr. Hinojosa, and I work to bring Financial Literacy Month to Capitol Hill. In that effort we are joined by our longtime Senate allies, Senator Akaka and Senator Enzi.

Traditionally, we have offered a resolution as a way to showcase the latest trends in financial and economic literacy. This year, however, the House is taking an understandable break from debating commemoratory resolutions in order to focus attention on pressing items like the budget.

Nonetheless, I want to take a brief opportunity today to encourage my colleagues to take part in this year's Financial Literacy Month. It's a time when nonprofits, educational institutions, financial organizations, government agencies, and others work together to protect consumers and prepare our children to prosper in today's sophisticated marketplace.

For example, from April 17 through 23, America's credit unions will hold National Credit Union Youth Week, which focuses on teaching young Americans about the benefits of setting goals and saving to reach them. In a parallel effort, the American Bankers Association Education Foundation held Teach Children to Save Day on April 12. It's an annual event during which America's banking professionals have volunteered to teach money skills to 4 million young people.

Madam Speaker, this is a trend we should applaud, one that I encourage my colleagues to participate in by joining the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus. Members and their staffs can also join us this Friday in the Cannon Caucus Room from noon to 3 for a Financial Literacy Day Fair featuring information and constituent outreach materials from 55 of the Nation's leading financial literacy organizations, including the Jump$tart Coalition, Junior Achievement, and the Council for Economic Education.

Madam Speaker, too many Americans continue to enter the workforce unprepared to handle money, buy a home, or save for retirement. According to the Jump$tart Coalition's most recent survey, our high school seniors are now scoring lower on financial literacy than they have during any years since 2000; and yet, according to a 2009 survey from the Council for Economic Education, only 34 States require school districts to include personal finance in their education standards for students K-12.

These are troubling numbers, and that's why we must work together to give Americans the tools they need to prepare against economic uncertainty, recognize deceptive practices, build credit, and make dozens of other day-to-day financial decisions. These are skills that everyone must learn to prosper in today's complex marketplace, and that's what Financial Literacy Month is all about.

So I encourage my colleagues who are interested in learning more to join us this Friday from noon to 3 in the Cannon Caucus Room for our annual Financial Literacy Day Fair.

(House of Representatives - April 14, 2011)

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