MPS eighth-graders get a lesson in financial literacy

MILWAUKEE -- Balancing a budget is something eighth-grader Toni Fritz has never really thought about, because her parent's have always taken care of it. Tuesday, September 18th Toni and other eighth-graders were in charge as they learned about financial responsibility.

The Milwaukee Public School District and Junior Achievement of Wisconsin teamed up to create the program JA Finance Park Learning Journey. Lessons on financial concepts and career exploration have been added to the eighth-grade MPS curriculum.

"We need them to be ready financially. We need them to be ready to step into the world and be able to actually navigate and manage money," MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said.

All 5,000 students will then take a field trip to Junior Achievement to apply what they've learned in hands-on activities.

"We give them a new alias. They`ll have a family and a career situation and from there they`ll be asked to make not only personal budget decisions but also monitor investments," Junior Achievement of Wisconsin President Tim Greinert said.

Many of the kids were surprised to see how fast the bills can add up.

"You`re like 'oh man, I have to pay my insurance company this much' and it`s like 'this is life isn't it?'" eighth-grader Ryan Nordmeyer said.

Although most of the students had fun while learning, many of them said they don't mind staying a kid a little longer.

The JA Finance Park Learning Journey is a three-year partnership between Junior Achievement of Wisconsin and MPS.