Several students are hoping to come up with a win for the school once again when they compete in a national challenge that tests high schoolers on their knowledge of personal finance.
Only four states in the nation — Utah, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia — require high school students to pass a semester of financial literacy education before graduating.
While financial literary classes are not mandatory in California, the Baldwin Park High team will be competing again in the National Financial Capability Challenge.
The challenge, a program designed to educate high school students on the basics of personal finance, was established by the federal departments of treasury and education and is administered from March 12 to April 13.
The awards programs is designed to increase financial knowledge and the capability of high school students, while providing incentives for teachers to teach basic personal finance.
Led by Baldwin Park High School business teacher Craig Peacock, and supported by the SCE Federal Credit Union Foundation, 10 Baldwin Park High students finished in the top 20 percent of the challenge last year.
“All the student [winners] were Latino, with the exception of one Chinese student,” Peacock said.
The online series of 40 financial questions helps determine students' understanding of earnings, spending, investing, saving and borrowing. Peacock stressed the importance of the program, regardless of whether the state requires it.
"Financial literacy is as vital as reading, writing, science and math when it comes to preparing young people for the real world," said Peacock.
While Baldwin Park High's showing last year was noteworthy, the state on average underperformed. In 2011, 52 California public schools competed in the competition and averaged scores below the national average of 69 percent.
Baldwin Park High offers its financial literacy program with the help of the SCE FCU Foundation, which partners with schools and community organizations to bring financial literacy to the public.
"Through the SCE FCU Foundation, teenagers are forming healthy money management skills," said SCE FCU Chief Executive Officer Dennis Huber.
This year, the credit union foundation will conduct more than 100 financial literacy workshops and courses, all aimed at educating the public about the importance of financial literacy and responsibility.
The SCE FCU partnered with Boyle Heights Technology Center and Watts Youth Opportunity Movement, two nonprofits running a special youth workforce program for 14- to 21-year-olds, to educate them on smart money management skills. The foundation hopes to extend its reach further.
“Our financial education program continues to grow, and we’re planning to expand the program this year,” said Abigail Ulm, manager of services for the SCE FCU Foundation.
According to the foundation, its goal is to improve the financial education and well-being of the communities it serves, particularly in Southern California high schools in Duarte, Baldwin Park, Ontario and Lynwood.
For questions about the challenge, or for educators administering it, email email@example.com.
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