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left: Kenny Chen, a member of San Diego Education Association, shows Chelsea Mills (left) and Cassie Pugh that realistic budgeting often means cutting back. below: David Ellington, San Leandro Teachers Association. lower left: Venetta Cormier-Walker, San Lorenzo Education Association. many of them are not savvy with mon- ey. One of the lessons she has con- structed alerts students to the dangers of super sales and hidden del ivery fees. Another looks at buying gasoline from a station that advertises for less, then charges more because there is a fee for using a credit or debit card. “They never tel l you about these things. But most people pay an addi- tional $3,000 to $7,000 the first year, no matter how cheap the car is.” Ellington believes financial literacy is a way to get his mild-to-moderate special education students ful ly in- volved in the community and enfran- chised into society. He invites commu- nity entrepreneurs, stockbrokers, real estate brokers and bankers into his classroom to speak wi th s tudents about money. “I talk to my students a lot about debt,” says the San Leandro Teachers Association member. “I had a senior who was already $1,400 in debt, and I realized that students need a better understanding of finances. They think they can pay something off in months and it can take years. Sometimes they purchase a cell phone and find them- selves in a bad contract for years.” Venetta Cormier-Walker, a teacher at the San Lorenzo Adult School, re- vamped her curriculum during the summer to include lessons on finan- cial literacy. Some of the curriculum is tied to math lessons, reflecting her philosophy of keeping it real and prov- ing to students that school has practi- cal applications in the real world. “I felt the need to do this because everyone should know how to save money, how to shop, and how to man- age limited funds with diminishing re- sources,” says Walker, a member of the San Lorenzo Education Association. Her students are young adults, but 24 California Educator | november 2009 “Many of my students come from challenging environments and have not learned how to budget or save,” Walker explains. “It’s not easy. One of the biggest issues in educating these students is that their generation has a sense of entitlement — and that in- cludes finances. My job is to help pre- pare them for the future, and teaching them to make smart choices.”

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