By Victoria Daniels
Special to the AFRO

A resolution for a graduation requirement of financial literacy is slated to reach Prince George’s County Public School Board of Education for a second time in March, after members of the Policy and Governance Committee voted in support of it Feb. 12, and board members discussed it at their Feb. 20 meeting. 

Joshua Omolola, student member of the board, and Edward Burroughs III, vice chair and District 8 Board member, are the brains behind adding financial literacy courses to the list of graduation requirements.

The Prince George’s County School Board is working to add financial literacy courses as a graduation requirement. (Courtesy Photo)

Burroughs shared the importance of financial literacy with the Policy and Governance Committee by reading parts of a letter he and Omolola wrote. This letter included demographics on students of color and students who have free/reduced lunch. 

“Reading, writing and arithmetic, alone, will not bring them out of poverty,” said Burroughs as he explained that the current demographics make “this initiative a more critical one.” 

The idea to create this graduation requirement came to Omolola, a Parkdale High School senior, after visiting Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School. Wise students sang praises about the financial literacy program and Omolola moved it to the top of his to-do list for his tenure as student member of the board.

He reached out to financial literacy educators across the county and gained their support. They all wanted him to push to make this a reality, but understood the possibility of things not working out. 

“We might not have all the resources right now, but at least put it on the table and see what happens,” said Omolola. 

He believes that teaching students life skills should be happening within school boards on a national level, not just in Prince George’s County or the state of Maryland. 

After Omolola and Burroughs wrote the legislation, they reached out to appointed and elected board members to gain support. They also had students from Parkdale testify at public hearings sharing their thoughts on the effectiveness of knowing math formulas versus understanding tax forms. 

“It’s great to be an adult, but it’s expensive,” Omolola said. 

Dr. Alvin Thornton, chair of the Board of Education, as well as other committee members, shared his complete support of the requirement during the meeting. 

The resolution has been placed on the agenda for the March 5 meeting after Board and committee members had disagreements about financial literacy being on the Feb. 20 Board meeting’s agenda. 

All legislation must be seen twice, often referred to as first and second reader. Being that the Feb. 20 meeting served as first reader, the resolution will be on the March 5 agenda as a second reader. The Academic Achievement Committee also plans to review it on Feb. 25.

As stated in Burroughs’ and Omolola’s letter, “It will be up to this board to resist the urge to settle for anything less than a comprehensive financial literacy mandate as a graduation requirement.”