Published: May 2007

Financial Literacy and Education Summit 2007

The Financial Literacy and Education Summit, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago during Money Smart Week and sponsored by VISA, brought together leading thinkers in the area of financial literacy policy and practice to share their vision on the future of personal finance education and explore what role the government should play in this crucial issue.

The first session of the 2007 Summit discussed national frameworks for financial literacy education and the challenges of promoting financial education on a national level. Panelists included Richard Riley, U. S. Secretary of Education (1993-2001) and Governor of South Carolina (1979-1987); Richard Cordray, Ohio Treasurer of State; William Seidman, Chairman Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (1985-1991) and John Bryant, Founder of Operation Hope and author of Banking on our Future.

Recognizing that the United States faces a financial literacy crisis, with millions of young Americans lacking even the most basic money management skills, panelists agreed that education is the answer. Acknowledging the limited role government has played in financial literacy efforts, the former chairman of the FDIC emphasized parents’ position to teach their children about money, and recommended broader partnerships with the private sector. Bryant, on the other hand, framed the financial literacy debate as a civil rights issue. "Financial literacy gives you dignity, it makes you a better choice maker. You can't have dignity if you don't have a bank account." Quoting Martin Luther King, he said, "You cannot legislate goodness and you cannot pass a law to force someone to respect you. The means to social justice in a capitalistic country is through economic parity."

During the second session, experienced advocates from the non-profit and private sectors, educators, and practitioners shared financial education best practices. Panelists included Todd Rokita, Indiana Secretary of State; Laura Levine, Executive Director for the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy; Chauncey Veatch, National Teacher of the Year and Steve Malin, Senior Education Specialist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In response to the question of what works in financial literacy and what does not, Levine indicated that financial literacy organizations have been good about raising awareness and making personal finance relevant, but that there has been a failure to evaluate the effectiveness of the efforts.

Click on this sentence to view the Financial Literacy Summit Webcast and to obtain more information about the panelists.

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