While talking to the board of the Young Investors Society, pre-business junior Stephen Sykes recognized a disparity of financial literacy between students of public and private schools. “I was shocked to find that the scores among financial literacy tests got a passing grade 60% of the time in the upper and middle economic classes, while only 16% of students passed in the lower economic segment,” Sykes explained. This is when he decided to start a petition to remedy these ills/
Influenced by these findings, he researched the educational history for financial literacy among Florida students. He found that in Florida, there used to be a standard of one quarter of a half semester economics class solely dedicated to learning how to manage money. However, due to conflict between the State House and State Senate, the state got rid of this standard in 2019.
He started a petition, working with junior Luke Freed, to require financial education standards in Florida schools. This would require a class in all schools with life skills and personal finance, including how to write checks, how to do taxes, how taxes change, investing, and more. This would essentially help those in low income areas who are not exposed to information like this and give them extra opportunities like learning how to start businesses.
They are currently reaching out to different organizations, to create a nonprofit for social welfare and political organization. The two recruit recruiters, who sign and in turn, recruit more people to get signatures. So far, there are 20 recruiters, spanning six schools and a college. Once the petition has enough signatures, Sykes plans on getting key school board and education officials for their input and signatures before contacting Florida Congressmen.
Sykes hopes the statewide educational standards for financial literacy will also motivate Heritage to incorporate a similar class. To spearhead this effort, Sykes and Freed created a team-based system, with a chairman, executive team and chair of executive team, including junior Sebastian Salaues Sevo and junior Leonid Cherevko.