Dear Fellow Mississippians,
In study after study, Mississippi ranks at the bottom for our financial habits, and we rank at the very top in poverty. That’s no coincidence, and frankly, that’s not acceptable.
If we want to see change across this state, we need to start with the next generation of Mississippians. High school students who can’t handle basic financial tasks impact the state’s economy, reduce the quality of our workforce, and affect our state credit ratings. Most importantly, without the right knowledge, these students can’t break the cycle of poverty.
Since I took office in 2012, improving Mississippi’s financial education has been one of my highest priorities. Now, we are building a TEAM that agrees that financial education is vital for our workforce and our consumers. TEAM’s vision is to provide financial education in high schools statewide.
Currently, personal finance education is not a required course for Mississippi students. Our TEAM initiative raises private dollars to provide free resources to teachers and students so they can learn to make sound financial decisions. With the help of our partners, we have been able accelerate awareness and get cutting-edge, financial education technology to more than 350 public and private Mississippi high schools.
Teacher training is an essential part of the TEAM effort. Professional teacher training centered on financial literacy will ensure uniform adoption and sustainability of enhanced personal finance education in our schools. We have partnered with The Mississippi Council on Economic Education, leaders in their industry, to provide this valuable resource to teachers for Kindergarten through 12th grade.
TEAM’s student resource, powered by nationally respected EverFi, uses a web-based interactive learning platform that allows students to complete modules on classroom computers, or even on their mobile devices at home. The program teaches, assesses, and certifies students in financial literacy through 3D gaming, sophisticated animation and video, and other interactive technologies.
During its first two years, TEAM reached over 66,000 Mississippi students completing more than 255,000 hours of financial learning. And, benchmark assessments show that financial awareness after completing the EverFi modules increased by an average of 91%. With the help of MCEE, we’ve been able to train more than 1,200 teachers who will in turn reach tens of thousands more students. Giving the teachers the proper training will help build a sustainable foundation for the future of TEAM.
I look forward to working with our partners to change the financial culture of our state.