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State Treasurer pushes financial literacy in schools

Reported by: Wayne Hereford
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Updated: 8/21/2014 8:03 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA)-- An alarming number of students in Mississippi don't know how to write a check or balance a checkbook, according to State Treasurer Lynn Fitch.

Fitch is putshing a computerized financial literacy program in schools across Mississippi called TEAM, Treasurer's Education About Money.

"It's been piloted. We've looked at it. We've seen it in 70 other Mississippi schools," she said to an audience at Renasant Bank.

TEAM is designed to bring schools together and teach students about how to budget money.

"We're doing this to get them a critical life skill they so need. It's important that they understand money," Fitch said. 

Understanding money appears to be a problem with many students across Mississippi.

"They're afraid of money. They're not really sure about checking accounts and that kind of thing," said Tupelo School Assistant Superintendent Dianna Ezell. 

Fitch says she's starting the program to help prevent alarming statistics that she's seen across Mississippi.

For example, 67 percent of Mississippians don't have a savings account.

That's one reason why businesses like Renasant Bank are backing TEAM to help students prevent financial mistakes that many older Mississippians have made.

"This will give kids an opportunity have a financial education. And when they start writing those checks, and keeping up with their bank accounts, they'll do a lot better job than some others have," replied Renasant Bank CEO Robin McGraw.

Fitch says the program will be user friendly and applicable to the classrooms across the Magnolia State.

Teachers will be trained to discuss personal finance, and the course will be accessible online.
"So, what we are doing here with this public-private parternership is making it available to every high school public, private, parochial, to those children who would like to be learning about that life skill," said Fitch. 

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