Birmingham approves $1million plan to teach financial literacy in schools

Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved a $1 million financial education program to be offered to students at Birmingham City Schools which will coach them on bank accounts, stocks and savings.

“We are giving a gift to our students – financial freedom,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, who included the $1million allocation as part of his proposed budget earlier this year.

The city has partnered with IMC Financial Consulting, which will deliver financial workshops and personal finance counseling sessions, and Goalsetter, which offers an app students can download to access bank and investment accounts. .

“We’ll be able to provide information on budgeting, cash flow, financial psychology, credit, all the different life experiences,” said Isaac Cooper, CEO of ICM Financial Consulting.

The pilot phase will launch in October at six Birmingham schools: Jackson-Olin High School, Carver High School, South Hampton K-8 School, Hudson K-8 School, Sun Valley Elementary School and Robinson Elementary School.

“Me, as a young student, I was taught math, I was taught reading, I was taught social studies and science,” Woodfin said. “What I wasn’t taught was financial literacy. It’s something that I had to acquire on my own… We want better for our children.

Woodfin said he hopes the program will help weed out predatory lenders.

“It’s my desire to put them out of business,” Woodfin said.

Education about the importance of good credit and the danger of high-interest loans is a step in that direction, he said.

The average credit score for a Birmingham resident is 597, 78 points lower than the national average, Woodfin said.

The Goalsetter Foundation will donate stock to Birmingham students, which will be provided by its corporate partners including Nike, Delta, Twitter, Lyft, HP and Comcast. Goalsetter will provide 5,000 bank and investment accounts to pilot school students, faculty and staff, with $250,000 of donated stock to place in investment accounts.

The Goalsetter app provides financial instructions, including videos narrated by actor Anthony Anderson, star of ‘Black-ish’ TV show.

Being a pioneer in financial literacy is part of Birmingham’s civil rights tradition, said Tanya Van Court, CEO of Goalsetter.

“We really believe this is a civil right,” she said.

For more information on BHM’s Financial Freedom Project, visit www.BHMFinancialFreedomProject.com.