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Teachers Desire Formal Financial Literacy Instruction Training, According to New Survey from Operation HOPE and Charles Schwab Foundation 


Operation HOPE  and the Charles Schwab Foundation surveyed nearly 1,000 PK-12 public school teachers to better understand what factors teachers believe impact their self-efficacy in financial literacy instruction. Teachers in this study overwhelmingly agreed that improving in their own personal financial knowledge and participation in relevant professional development experiences increases their confidence to provide effective, student-centered instruction that improves students’ financial knowledge and subsequent behaviors. 

ATLANTA – April 28, 2021 – Operation HOPE, in partnership with The Charles Schwab Foundation, launched a national survey to understand what factors PK-12 teachers believe impact their self-efficacy in delivering financial literacy instruction.

Financial literacy is a pathway to arm young people with the skills and knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions, but not all teachers feel adequately prepared to teach lessons in topics like budgeting, saving, or credit management.

Operation HOPE, the nation’s largest nonprofit dedicated to improving financial literacy, wanted to discover what factors teachers believe impact their confidence in providing financial wellness instruction to their students. Beginning in December 2020, nearly 1,000 licensed public-school teachers across nine regions in the U.S. were surveyed. 

“It is unreasonable to expect our young people to have the financial literacy skills needed to succeed without also investing in the educators who can give them that critical knowledge,” said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Hope Bryant. “I think we can all agree— teachers deserve a special place in heaven. With the help of our friends at Charles Schwab, we will do our part to help meet their needs and ultimately improve the financial knowledge of our youth.” 

Results from the survey revealed: 

  • 84% strongly agree that it is the school’s responsibility to provide financial literacy instruction 
  • 40% feel that they lack the financial knowledge and confidence to teach financial concepts
  • 80% believe that students would engage more if taught by an outside financial expert 
  • 27% of teachers with no prior experience teaching financial literacy would be willing to teach it unless mandated to do so

To date, 45 states have adopted K-12 personal finance standards and 21 require high school students to take a course in personal finance. As more and more states continue to add financial standards to curriculum requirements beyond social studies, economics, and finance classes, this study reveals an important gap in the preparation of teachers across subject areas to incorporate financial topics into their existing courses and content. Teachers overwhelmingly conveyed that participation in professional development would improve their confidence, but over half say that their school doesn’t offer it.

Of those surveyed, 72% of the teachers were interested in having access to self-paced financial literacy materials that they could incorporate in their instruction, and 68% would take advantage of opportunities to attend online courses and workshops to develop both their personal financial literacy and their professional knowledge. 

When teachers have a deep understanding of financial topics and are confident in their instructional ability, they are more likely to provide effective, student-centered instruction that improves students’ financial knowledge and subsequent behaviors. 

“Many Americans don’t have access to the education that can help them achieve financial security. Financial literacy shouldn’t be considered a nice-to-have but rather an essential life skill that everyone needs,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President of the Charles Schwab Foundation. 

At a time when our global economy is under attack by an unrelenting pandemic, the need to improve teacher preparedness and confidence to support the successful delivery of financial literacy curriculum could not be more relevant to our national education agenda. To view the full research brief, visit


About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved—disrupting poverty for millions of low and moderate-income youth and adults across the nation. Through its community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 4 million individuals and directed more than $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—turning check-cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage consumers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors. For more information: Follow the HOPE conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About the Charles Schwab Foundation  

The Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization created by the Charles Schwab Corporation. Its philanthropic mission is to help people become financially fit through education, advocacy, and volunteerism. It also supports a wide range of community and employee-selected organizations. Since 2010, Charles Schwab Foundation has donated over $37 million in direct grants to various charity organizations nationwide. In the past year, $12.2 million in financial support reached more than 3,193 nonprofit organizations. The Foundation provides financial support to qualifying nonprofits via direct grants, event sponsorships, and employee-matching gifts

Media Contact:

Lalohni Campbell, Operation HOPE


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