The California Jump$tart Coalition uses a dollar sign in its logo, and it makes perfect sense. This not-for-profit’s mission is to further financial knowledge among the state’s K-12 students. They recognize the correlation between financial skills and success. Members of Jump$tart are organizations and individuals who acknowledge the value and pressing need for this kind of instruction. In fact, according to a recent report by The Penny Hoarder, the state of California currently ranks 49th in student financial literacy. Jump$tart is working to change that and has established itself as a go-to source in the state as well as nationally – and SCE Credit Union is among their most fervent supporters. 

A consensus contradiction

Learning about money matters and developing financial skills are keys to success. The lack of required financial education in California’s school curriculum is a major reason for the lack of financial literacy in the state. There’s little debate about those two statements. Despite that, year after year, legislation to address the issue falls flat in Sacramento. It’s not for lack of trying.

Tena Lozano is the California Jump$tart Coalition’s Board Chair and she sees the contradiction. “It’s like agreeing the room is dark, having lighting fixtures available, but refusing to turn them on.”

Lozano points out that many effective programs already exist – they don’t need to be invented. Training for teachers is also available. Unfortunately, when it comes to passing legislation, most bills don’t even make it out of committee. “And if they do happen to get out of committee,” Lozano explains, “they’re so watered down they’d have no impact if they did pass.”

Those involved in the effort to educate put aside frustration and persevere, maintaining a positive and persistent mindset. The California Jump$tart Coalition acts as a think tank and an advocacy group. They’re committed to elevating the conversation, persuading legislators and getting a mandate put in place. SCE Credit Union is committed to helping.

The Credit Union connection

SCE Credit Union employee Abby Ulm is the Director of the Center for Financial Empowerment (CFE), a nonprofit the Credit Union founded nearly 20 years ago.

The CFE exists to raise the level of financial literacy among students, so it’s not surprising Abby also sits on the Board of California Jump$tart Coalition. Thanks to SCE Credit Union’s strong reputation with state legislators, Abby and Pascual Garrido, the Credit Union’s Director of Legislative and Community Affairs, have helped California Jump$tart Coalition move financial literacy advocacy forward by making connections with Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond. As a result, both legislators have engaged California Jump$tart as a valued resource in the ongoing efforts to resolve financial literacy deficiencies in California’s schools.

To thrive in today’s culture, one needs to master the fundamentals of financial education, like how to balance a checkbook, how to save, and how to use credit wisely. It’s an uphill climb but inroads are being made in the Golden State. The California Jump$tart Coalition is a highly respected resource at the forefront of the effort – and SCE Credit Union is proud to be their partner.

To learn more about California Jump$tart Coalition, visit cajumpstart.org.