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Arizona lawmakers consider making financial literacy a required class for public school students

State lawmakers have advanced a proposal to require Arizona public school students to take financial literacy classes

Some states have laws requiring students to learn about things like credit card interest, investing and how to do their taxes. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler), says that Arizona should make it a requirement, too. 

He told other lawmakers that he learned differential equations at the expense of more practical things.

“I could tell you what a derivative is, and how pi r squared and 2 pi r are related to each other, but I’ve not ever used derivatives in my professional life, but financial literacy? Where I should bank ... all those sorts of things are very relevant to everyday life,” he said.

Mesa public school teacher Angela Maris testified that she has been teaching these financial literacy topics with great success.

“I had a student come to me and say, ‘I helped my mom get out of credit card debt.’ She helped her mom get out of credit card debt because of my class. That was impactful for me. I know I'm making a difference,” she said.

“I just imagine what our society would be like if everybody had this information, and how much less vulnerable they’d be,” she added.

The bill passed its first legislative hearings with bipartisan support, but some lawmakers were reluctant to make the courses requirements rather than electives. 

If it becomes law, the legislation would have an impact first on the graduating class of 2028 and would apply to K-12 students.

Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.