Financial Literacy for Children and Youth, Second Edition

by Thomas A. Lucey (Volume editor) Kathleen S. Cooter (Volume editor)
©2018 Textbook VIII, 302 Pages


The 1% and the other 99%…the Haves and the Have Nots…
Words such as junk bonds, subprime mortgage, bailouts, derivatives, and housing bubble have become part of the daily vernacular of the ordinary American. There is a chasm arguably growing between the "Haves" and the "Have Nots" which teachers must acknowledge and instruct the adults of tomorrow.
Financial Literacy for Children and Youth, Second Edition asserts that teaching is a social and political act capable of enabling the teachers of today to delve into the practical, theoretical, and socio-historical perspectives of financial literacy instruction in schools with the hopes to better the life outcomes of young people. Each section of the book reflects one of those perspectives. Each chapter is written by well-known financial literacy educators and is followed by questions designed to encourage discussion and critical analysis.
The book is designed for both preservice and in service social studies teachers and is written at a level understandable to both undergraduate and graduate students. The book challenges the teacher or teacher-to-be to think critically about financial literacy instruction as a necessary and important portal to social justice for the students of today.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Excerpts, Figures, and Tables
  • Introduction
  • About the Book
  • References
  • Part One: Definitions
  • Chapter One: The Hidden Curriculum in Financial Literacy: Economics, Standards, and the Teaching of Young Children (Debbie Sonu / Anand R. Marri)
  • Introduction
  • Curriculum Background
  • Conceptual Framework
  • Three Types of Citizenship and Civic Education
  • Analyzing the Curriculum
  • Individual Wants and Needs in Kindergarten
  • Families and Choice-Making in the First Grade
  • Interdependence and Community Economics in the Second Grade
  • Conclusion
  • Questions for Discussion
  • References
  • Chapter Two: Meaning and Money Revisited (Mary E. Brenner)
  • Research on Children’s Experiences With Money
  • Bringing Everyday Practices Into the Classroom
  • Other Challenges
  • Questions for Discussion
  • References
  • Chapter Three: Random Acts of Financial Literacy (Kathleen S. Cooter)
  • Introduction
  • Method Instrumentation
  • Subjects
  • Procedures
  • Analysis
  • Results
  • Personal Statements
  • Postsurvey Conversations
  • Limitations
  • Suggestions for Future Research/Implications
  • Chapter Update
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Appendix 1
  • Note
  • References
  • Chapter Four: Strategies and Resources for Teaching Financial Literacy to Youth with Disabilities (Mary Beth Henning / Sarah Johnston-Rodriguez)
  • The Importance of Self-Determination
  • Key Financial Literacy Curriculum Concepts for Youth with Disabilities
  • Earning Income
  • Budgeting
  • Saving
  • Banking
  • Insuring
  • Universal Design for Making Instruction Relevant to Students with Special Needs
  • Multiple Means of Representation
  • Multiple Means of Expression
  • Multiple Means of Engagement
  • Recommended Financial Literacy Curriculum and Strategies for Students with Special Needs
  • Earning Income
  • Budgeting
  • Saving
  • Banking
  • Insuring
  • Conclusion
  • Questions for Discussion
  • References
  • Part Two: Instructional Issues
  • Chapter Five: Instructional Integration of Digital Learning Games in Financial Literacy Education (Carmela Aprea / Julia Schultheis / Kathleen Stolle)
  • Introduction
  • Potential Benefits of Learning with Digital Games
  • Game-Based Learning: Summary of the Available Empirical Research
  • Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of Game-Based Learning Arrangements in a Secondary School Financial Literacy Program in Switzerland
  • Background of the Program
  • Development of the Game-based Learning Arrangements
  • Implementation and Formative Evaluation of the Game-based Learning Arrangements
  • Preliminary Guidelines for Integrating Learning Games Into Financial Literacy Education
  • Summary and Outlook
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter Six: Teaching Financial Literacy Through the Arts: Theoretical Underpinnings and Guidelines for Lesson Development (James D. Laney)
  • What is the Rationale for Teaching Financial Literacy Through the Arts?
  • What are Some Procedural Guidelines for Developing Financial Literacy Lessons that Use Works of Art as Content Vehicles?
  • What is Money? How and Why Do People Use It?
  • How/ Why Do Some People have/Make More Money Than Others?
  • How/ Why Do People Make/Grow Money?
  • How/ Why Do People Spend Money?
  • What are the Ethics and/or Values-Related Aspects of Money?
  • Art History
  • Art Criticism
  • Aesthetics
  • Art Production
  • Visual Arts Seed Strategies
  • Music Seed Strategies
  • Drama and Storytelling Seed Strategies
  • Dance Seed Strategies
  • Literature Seed Strategies
  • What Does a Model Arts-Financial Literacy Lesson Look Like?
  • Chapter Update
  • Questions for discussion
  • References
  • Teaching Financial Literacy Through the Arts: a Sample Lesson
  • Background Information in Art Education
  • Objective(s)
  • Materials
  • Procedures
  • Summary/Assessment
  • References
  • Bibliography of Related Teacher Resources
  • Internet Resources
  • Chapter Seven: Students’ Money Experiences and Preconceptions of Financial Issues—Implications for Effective Financial Education (Bettina Greimel-Fuhrmann)
  • Problem Statement and Objectives of This Chapter
  • Defining Financial Literacy and Financial Education
  • Research Design of the Interview Studies
  • Selected Results of the Content Analysis of the Interviews Associations with Money and Money Management
  • Learning Experiences
  • Preconceived Ideas of Financial Issues
  • Wishing More Financial Education
  • Summary and Implications of the Results for Effective Financial Education
  • Questions for Discussion
  • References
  • Chapter Eight: Financial Literacy and Youths in Jail (Jaime Christensen)
  • Background
  • Program Description
  • Research Environment and Participants
  • Intervention
  • Instrumentation
  • The Interviews
  • Joe
  • Cory
  • Stuart
  • The Classes
  • Week One
  • Week Two
  • Week Three
  • Week Four
  • Week Five
  • Week Six
  • Posttest
  • Discussion
  • Implications
  • Chapter Update
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Note
  • References
  • Chapter Nine: Teaching Probability and Learning Financial Concepts: How to Empower Elementary School Students in Citizenship (Annie Savard)
  • Financial Literacy Education for Young Students
  • Gambling As a Risky Activity
  • A Framework to Create Mathematical Lesson Plans and Financial Concepts
  • Creation of the Lesson Plans
  • The Lesson Plans
  • The Lucky Charm Experiment
  • The Library Search and the Game Board on Lucky Numbers
  • The Library Search
  • The Board Game on Lucky Numbers
  • Card Games
  • Spins
  • Heads or Tails
  • Horoscope
  • Discussion About the Lesson Plans
  • Concluding Remarks
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Note
  • References
  • Chapter Ten: The Influence of Teacher Attributes on Financial Education Outcomes (J. Michael Collins / Elizabeth Odders-White / Nilton Porto)
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • The Intervention
  • Teacher Training
  • Teachers’ Attitudes and Feedback
  • Student Outcomes
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Implications for Teacher Training and Policy
  • Conclusion
  • Questions for Discussion
  • References
  • Chapter Eleven: Economic Inequality and Secondary Mathematics (Andrew Brantlinger)
  • Methods
  • Data
  • Discourse
  • Interviews
  • Analysis
  • Findings
  • The Nature of Discourse in a Critical Financial Literacy Project
  • Student Resistance to Critical Mathematics in “Siberia”
  • Critical Student Agency in Another Corner of the Classroom
  • Simulating the Distribution of U.S. Income
  • Student Interviews: Mixed Student Reaction to Critical Mathematics
  • Discussion: The Problematic Promise of Critical Mathematics
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Update
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter Twelve: Personal Finance Education for Young Children: Why Isn’t It Happening? What Needs to Be Done? (Bonnie T. Meszaros / Mary C. Suiter)
  • Case for Personal Finance Education
  • Status of k–12 Financial Literacy Education
  • Success of Financial Education in the k–12 Classrooms
  • The Case for Starting Early
  • Overcoming the Stumbling Blocks
  • Conclusion
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Note
  • References
  • Part Three: Socio-Historic Moral Issues
  • Chapter Thirteen: A Representation of Vulnerability in National Strategies: Targeting the Needs of Disadvantaged Consumers with Financial Education and Inclusion Efforts (Floor E. Knoote / Sofia L. Ortega Tineo)
  • Methodology
  • Conceptual Framework: Relationships Between Vulnerability, Consumer Protection, Financial Capability, and Financial Inclusion
  • The Vulnerable Consumer
  • Causes of Vulnerability
  • Disadvantage and Vulnerability
  • Linking Vulnerability to Financial Inclusion, Consumer Protection, and Financial Capability
  • Financial Inclusion
  • Financial Exclusion
  • Financial Capability
  • Applicability
  • Teachable Moments
  • Messenger
  • Conclusion: Linking Vulnerability to National Policies
  • National Strategies for Financial Education and Inclusion
  • Vulnerability in National Strategies
  • International Policy Guidance for Targeting Vulnerable Groups
  • Financial Education vs. Financial Inclusion
  • Conclusion
  • Targeting Vulnerability Through Strategy Implementation
  • Country Backgrounds
  • National Strategies for Financial Inclusion—Peru
  • Mexico’s National Policy for Financial Inclusion
  • Brazil’s National Strategy for Financial Education
  • Colombia’ National Strategy for Economic and Financial Education
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Segmentation Methods and Needs Assessed
  • Consultation Process
  • Tailoring of Programs and Coordination of Content
  • Communication Methods/Delivery
  • Implementation
  • Conclusion
  • Concluding Remarks and Recommendations
  • Discussion Questions
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter Fourteen: Grasping the Foundational Roots of Economic Perceptions: Precolonial West Africa and the Bantu (Thomas A. Lucey / Darrell P. Kruger / Jeffrey M. Hawkins)
  • Introduction
  • West Africa
  • Prehistory
  • Economic Processes
  • Societal Theory
  • Segmentary Lineage System
  • Dispersed Territorially Based Communities and Large Compact Village
  • Role of Religion and Folklore
  • Folklore
  • Bantu
  • Traditional Interpretations
  • Wave Expansion Theory
  • Proto-Bantu Societies
  • Southeast Africa Bantu
  • Conclusions
  • Chapter Update
  • Discussion Questions
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter Fifteen: Using Stories to Teach Complex Moral Concepts to Young Children (Chiara Bacigalupa)
  • Introduction
  • Theories/Research Informing This Study
  • Methods
  • Results
  • A Story about Sharing
  • A Moral Analysis of the Story
  • Implications
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Update
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Notes
  • References
  • Chapter Sixteen: Economics, Religion, Spirituality, and Education: Encouraging Understandings of Compassionate Dimensions (Thomas A. Lucey)
  • Introduction
  • Ancient Egypt and Precolonial East Africa
  • Developmental Environments
  • Pharaonic Egypt
  • Middle and New Kingdoms
  • Rural and Urban Ideals
  • Prosperity Theology
  • Liberation Theology
  • Modern Context
  • Applicability to Financial Education
  • Conclusions
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Note
  • References
  • Chapter Seventeen: Behavioral Economics: Making High School Economics Personal (Kathleen S. Cooter)
  • Teenagers as Consumers: Welcome to Generation z and Beyond
  • Current Status of Behavioral Economics: A Boom in Popularity
  • Why Teach Teenagers About the Decision-Making Aspects of Behavioral economics?
  • What Do Teachers Need to Know or Consider …
  • Building on Seminal Research: “Bounded Rationality”
  • There Are No Neutral Decisions
  • Discussion Questions
  • References
  • Contributors

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Excerpts, Figures, AND Tables


Excerpt 11.1: Initial Student Response to the Initial CM Writing Prompt

Excerpt 11.2: Critical Student Agency in Small Groups during CM

Excerpt 11.3: Critical Whole Class Discussion of Economic Fairness


Figure 6.1: Discipline-based Art Education

Figure 8.1: Pretest Results Percentage Scores on Lifeschool 2000 Assessment

Figure 8.2: Pretest/Posttest Comparison

Figure 8.3: Data for Joe

Figure 8.4: Data for Cory

Figure 8.5: Data for Stuart

Figure 9.1: Game Board

Figure 9.2: The Financial Context in Relation to the Other Contexts Present in the Classroom


Table 3.1: Mean Survey Scores Contrasted by Subject Area Taught

Table 3.2: Means and Analysis of Variance by Preparation ← vii | viii →

Table 5.1: Duration, Contents, and Superordinate Competencies of the Five Game-based Learning Modules

Table 9.1: Financial Literacy Concepts

Table 10.1: Summary Teacher Survey Responses (Average of All Lessons Reported), N = 43

Table 10.2: Summary Teacher Survey Responses (Average of All Lessons Reported), N = 43

Table 10.3: Teacher Self-Efficacy and Student Outcomes (Means)

Table 10.4: Teacher Self-Efficacy and Student Outcomes (OLS)

Table 10.5: Correlations

Table 10.6: Teacher Self-Efficacy and Other Attitudes (N = 43)

Table 10.7: Teacher Attitudes and Student Outcomes (OLS)

Table 16.1: Framework for a Fulfilling Curriculum

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Every book is written in a context—a period of time and place reflected in its contents and thinking. As we considered this text—Financial Literacy for Children and Youth 2nd Edition—we marveled at the vast differences between our first compilation in 2008 and the present context of 2018. The rumblings and fall out of the great recession had just begun then and words like junk bonds, subprime mortgage, bailouts, derivatives, and housing bubble had not yet become part of the daily vernacular of the ordinary American. At the same time, we should not ignore the economic and political interfacings that shape our global landscape. Just as educators need to acknowledge teaching as a social and political act to fully conceptualize the teaching profession, financial educators need to acknowledge the ideological lenses through which they conceptualize their teaching and learning to fully conceptualize the social nuances of financial literacies.

Thus, clearly the socioeconomic groups most affected at the time and still recovering are those who lacked wealth or skill sets or opportunities to withstand the crisis. Yet, the framework through which one construes his or her plight undergirds his or her financial literacy. The extent to which financial literacy espouses a pedagogy of merit and blame or reflection and social responsibility to a large degree shapes interpretations of these conditions. At the same time, it is important to avoid a binary us/them mind-set by recognizing the potential for error in all social participants. The recession triggered and/or reinforced a lack of trust in politicians, government in general and certainly the financial industry. While it is impolitic to place blame at any one door, society, as a community founded on principles of trust and honesty, suffered, often greatly. ← 1 | 2 →

Was trust misplaced? Obviously, yes. Yet, when the focus of financial literacy relates wealth accumulation rather than social welfare, one may expect such dishonesty. The human condition involves a blend of selfishness and selflessness. It requires both independence and community. Such is the case with patterns of disinformation and social illiteracy. To assume the citizenry were simply deceived diminishes them to ciphers in the views of the privileged elite. Perhaps the broader question relates to personal finances and values. To what extent do existent financial theories and applications reinforce social ideologies that maintain a hierarchical system founded on principles of resource control and objectification? To what extent may financial education acknowledge the validity of human existence as representing one of sacrifice and cooperation versus domination and superiority?

More aptly, they lacked faith in an ethical framework to make financial and life decisions founded on compassion for others. They trusted a system in which they did not fully understand the risks of an invitation to a financial quagmire that ultimately unveiled its dangers and resulted in dire consequences for the unsuspecting. Financial naiveté is a better descriptor perhaps. The painful daily actualities brought about by the great recession for many millions of Americans alerts us to the reality that a decontextualized approach to financial literacy portends critical risks for the public at large. The importance of financial literacy extends beyond political boundaries. As Bobbitt (2002) observes, our global world’s evolution beyond nation state political identities to market state relationships founded on economic identities and associations. Efforts to forge international efforts in developing children’s financial literacy (see https://childfinanceinternational.org/cyfi/board.html) and assemble scholarship (e.g., Aprea et al., 2016) represent important steps in fostering global discourse occur; however, founding these processes on contributions from academics representing a variety of disciplines that provide a balanced perspective that can help assuage the ill-advised policies of financial experts founded on narcissistic premises and build the trust of naïve populations who suffer from flawed decisions.

As we put this edition together, we write it with the knowledge that there is a vast chasm on this planet between the haves and the have-nots. Those individuals at the top of the business or industry have immense wealth—beyond any seen in this global history. And yet the latest statistics in the United States cite about 15 million children in the United States—21% of all children—live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families (www.nccp.org/topics/childpoverty.html). We also recognize the research that clearly identifies a correlational relationship between states and countries’ conditions for quality of living with wealth gaps between rich and poor (e.g., Wilkinson & Pickett, 2011). Areas of high wealth disparity face greater social risk than those of low wealth disparity. ← 2 | 3 →

Research by the George Washington University economics professor Annamaria Lusardi, Michaud, and Mitchell (2013) has documented the gaps in financial knowledge among different demographic groups. The data on financial literacy show that financial knowledge is unequally distributed; those with the least knowledge are also the most vulnerable groups in economic terms. As a result, the lack of financial literacy exacerbates economic inequality. Lusardi’s own analysis has estimated that more than one-third of wealth inequality could be accounted for by disparities in financial knowledge. At the same time, we cannot ignore the contextual meaning of financial literacy and the different life conditions that impose various applications of its meaning. What passes for a personal financial life cycle in corporate America differs from a personal financial life cycle in rural Zimbabwe.

It is in this context—an America with startling polarities and extremes in standards of living and more importantly visions for a future, that we offer this text. We feel strongly that financial literacy is far more than money and wealth accumulation; it is the ability to live a life of fulfillment and opportunity. Financial literacy is a tool and life skill assisting people to realize their potential—it is choices and opportunities for all. And yet, as Adam Smith (1759/1976) observed, a person’s loss of money represents only a loss in imagination.

We think it time, as a community, to consider whether it is money that defines us or whether we need more focus on a more fluid basis for defining ourselves. To maintain a society where people cannot achieve their life goals because of their station at birth ignores the reality that people do not choose the social context of their origins. Economic status represents a privilege. We assume the readers and students of this text are in agreement; yet at the same time, we recognize the possibility that they may not and we understand and appreciate the bases of reasoning that may cause this difference of interpretation to occur.

To this end, we feel it ethically bereft to assign financial literacy to the back burner of curricula in elementary, middle or high school and certainly in preservice teacher education—thus this book and its offerings. We acknowledge that this book is but a small piece of an overall financial curriculum, but suggest that it offers a great deal of information that will assist teacher and scholars in this work.


This edition, like the first, is a pedagogical, theoretical and sociohistorical perspective of the importance of financial literacy to schools and to the life outcomes of young people. Each section reflects one of those perspectives and each chapter “fits” into the one of those perspectives. There is a set of questions at the end of ← 3 | 4 → each chapter for assessment and/or discussion to facilitate its use as a text in postsecondary programs.

We are very excited to present nine new chapters in this edition. In the ten years since the first edition, knowledge and interpretation of financial literacy has broadened and we anticipate these new chapters will expand the conversation in their respective areas. We also present chapters in this edition that are reprinted from the first edition but updated and revised to reflect new learnings and research findings. These chapters have been selected for the unique issues and perspectives in financial literacy that they present and with the hope that they spark further community inquiry and dialogue.

This book will appeal to teacher candidates as the chapters offer theory and pragmatic lesson planning activities that are both rigorous and real world. Common core standards as well as other state standards demand instruction in personal finance and personal economics. We believe that the ideas and concepts presented here are varied and will greatly assist the practicing teacher in implementation. Sections one and two are of particular interest to the practitioner for those reasons. Section three explores in depth the complex sociohistorical and moral connections offering to both teacher and scholar opportunities for deep analysis and challenging perspectives.

Each chapter is designed to stand alone or to be used in conjunction with other chapters. We believe that the variation in topic and presentation is both informative and lively. We welcome you to this second edition and hope it is useful in your work as well as seen as a contribution to positive societal change, particularly for those who are most vulnerable.


Aprea, C., Wuttke, E., Breuer, K., Koh, N. K., Davies, P., Greimel-Fuhrmann, B., & Lopus, J. S. (Eds.). (2016). International handbook of financial literacy. Singapore: Springer.

Bobbitt, P. (2002). The shield of Achilles: War, peace, and the course of history. New York, NY: Knopf.

Lusardi, A., Michaud, P.-C., & Mitchell, O. S. (2013, January). Optimal financial knowledge and wealth inequality. The National Bureau of Economic Research. NBER Working Paper No. 18669.

Smith, A. (1759/1976). The theory of moral sentiments. D. D. Raphael & A. L. MacFee (Eds.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2011). The spirit level: Why greater equality makes societies stronger. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

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The Hidden Curriculum IN Financial Literacy


VIII, 302
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (May)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. VIII, 302 pp., 8 b/w ill., 12 tables

Biographical notes

Thomas A. Lucey (Volume editor) Kathleen S. Cooter (Volume editor)

Thomas A. Lucey (Ed.D., University of Memphis) is Professor of Elementary Education in the School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University. Kathleen S. Cooter (Ph.D., Texas Woman’s University) is Professor Emerita at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, and former Executive Director of the Kentucky Council for Economic Education. She is a facilitator for financial empowerment trainings for the Louisville Metro government.


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