WASHINGTON — The Wall Street meltdown of 2008 and the ensuing recession did little to help make high school seniors financially savvy and less than half of them have a solid understanding of economics, according to an Education Department report released Tuesday.
In real terms, that might mean that students might have difficulty understanding the impact of a poor credit rating, the relationship between consumer spending and higher unemployment or how inflation can eat away at pay raises.
Students’ scores of economic literacy changed little between 2006 and 2012, suggesting that the national discussion about the millions of jobs that were lost and homes that were foreclosed didn’t translate to higher academic achievement. During that period, several states added an economics course to high school offerings and some started requiring it to earn a diploma.
“It is astonishing that high school seniors do not know more about how economics affects their wallets, their country and the world at a pivotal time in their lives, whether they choose to enter the workforce or pursue higher education,” said David Driscoll, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which runs the federal tests. “We need to do more to educate all students in economics so they can make informed decisions, whether they are negotiating a car loan, voting or reading financial news.”