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We're flunking personal finance

But the agenda to educate the educators and mandate that schools add money management to their basic curriculum must acknowledge that we also need to teach the people who are parenting the K-12 children.

Because parents are urged to attend school meetings, sports programs, concerts, plays and other activities, school districts could press them to sit alongside their kids for a money management session.

Parents are the only ones who can instill in their children certain core values concerning finances. In my family, it's the values component that will, for example, encourage my three kids to make tithing and charitable giving a top priority in their budgets.

And no child of mine will leave home without a healthy hatred of debt. A financial class at school might suggest there is such a thing as good debt and bad debt. No way. My children will learn from me to do everything they can to avoid borrowing, except for the purchase of a home.

If we know that children often live out what they learn at home, this is one subject we can't put entirely into educators' hands.

Readers can write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

Comments and questions are welcome, but because of the volume of mail, personal responses are not always possible. Please note that comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.


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