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NK wants financial literacy for all students | Local News

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atrubia@ricentral.com

NORTH KINGSTOWN – On Tuesday, the North Kingstown School Committee, administrators and one invested high schooler discussed the feasibility of making financial literacy a public school requirement. The discussion involved high school principal Barbara Morse, teacher Rich Garland and high school senior Lauren McEwan. 

The presentation was kicked off by McEwan, who has used her senior project to advocate for making financial literacy a mandatory course for all high schoolers. McEwan said that the lack of knowledge that students have regarding financial literacy was a “widespread problem.”

“I’m a senior at North Kingstown High School and I’ve been using my senior project to advocate for making a mandatory financial literacy class. I think it’s a really widespread problem, the lack of knowledge that students have when they graduate,” McEwan said. “And whether that’s college, the workforce or the military, I think it’s really important that everyone has the same opportunity to have a strong foundation to manage their own finances when they graduate.”

According to McEwan’s presentation, students who do not have a strong understanding of financial literacy are more likely to make poor decisions relating to loans or credit cards, causing significant damage to their financial future. Economic growth is also further stymied, given the burden of high debt owned by Rhode Island college graduates–the second highest in the country with an average of roughly $36,000.

“Currently, student debt in the entire country is $1.4 trillion, and Rhode Island holds $4.4 billion,” McEwan added. “Rhode Island is one of only 14 states that doesn’t have a requirement for graduation to either take personal finance or personal wealth, or something along those lines.” 

And with crowded and complex numbers of financial offerings, lower levels of financial literacy can result in higher use of predatory financial services. 

Rhode Island is also ranked ninth nationally for the highest delinquency rates, specifically related to mortgage loans. And in states that require courses in financial literacy–such as Texas and Georgia–studies have shown increased credit scores and lower delinquency across the board. 

“I really think that a personal finance course as a requirement would be really relevant to all students,” McEwan concluded. 

Garland, who was named Financial Literacy Educator of the Year by treasurer Seth Magaziner, began his portion of the presentation by discussing his work at the state level with Magaziner and education commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. 

“Since becoming financial educator of the year, I’ve been tied to the treasurer’s office, and now the commissioner,” Garland said. “I thought it would be a good idea to take you through the timeline and then get to the point in terms of where the state is, relative to the treasurer and the commissioner coming together.”

Garland went through the recent history of trying to make financial literacy a public school requirement, beginning with Magaziner initiating the first quarterly Financial Empowerment Exchange in 2017, which provides an opportunity for leaders from high schools, nonprofits and banks to network and share ideas. 

 While the Financial Empowerment Exchange was the impetus to move forward with an act that would make financial literacy mandatory in Rhode Island, the bill, Securing Financial Future for all Students Act, failed to pass the senate. 

However, soon after, Infante-Green announced her support of the initiative, though she said she would rather see financial literacy as a requirement develop organically throughout the state, rather than being driven by the government. 

“Her preference is to make it organic as opposed to a bill being pushed out by the Statehouse,” Garland said. “It’s a good thing to do.”

Earlier this month, two workgroups were formed, with both setting their sights on financial literacy as a requirement in Rhode Island schools. The two groups are called Educator Preparedness Strategy, of which Garland is a member, and Student Outcomes Equity. 

Morse concluded the presentation by discussing how financial literacy as a requirement could be implemented at the high school. 

“We looked at the standards for each of the courses to determine which courses we would use as an eligibility for fulfilling this requirement,” Morse said. 

The three courses at the high school that could apply for a financial literacy requirement, Morse said, would be personal finance and investment, personal wealth management and consumer math. 

Approximately 305 students would already meet the requirements based on existing courses, however, the estimated enrollment for the class of 2024 is roughly 380. The high school, therefore, would have to create 75 additional spots the courses in order to meet the proposed financial literacy requirement. 

Morse said spots could be opened up if students who have already taken personal finance and investment weren’t allowed to take personal wealth management, making room for more students. 

And per new regulations, Morse added, students can use one course to meet more than one graduation requirement. For example, consumer math could meet both fourth-year math course and the financial literacy requirement. 

“They’re now able to double up on credits,” she said. “They could be completing a math-related credit while also completing the financial literacy requirement at the same time.” 

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Tories ask police to investigate prime minister over WE Charity deal

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The opposition Conservatives are calling for a criminal investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ties to the WE Charity after the federal government tasked the organization with administering a $900-million sole-sourced contract.

The call comes a day after CBC News and Canadaland reported that, despite initial claims, WE had financial dealings with some of Trudeau’s family members, most notably his mother Margaret and brother Alexandre.

WE and its affiliates paid out some $300,000 in speaking fees to the two through the Speakers’ Spotlight Bureau over the last four years.

CTV News also reported that the prime minister’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, received $1,500 for participating in a WE event in 2012, before Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party. She currently hosts a podcast for the charity.

The prime minister isn’t the only member of cabinet with personal ties to WE. CBC News reported Friday that Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s daughter also works for the charity, as a paid employee of the charity’s travel department since 2019.

Neither Trudeau nor Morneau recused themselves from cabinet’s discussion on the student grants program.

Federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion announced last Friday that he was investigating Trudeau over the choice of WE to run the grants program.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre is asking the police to probe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ties to the WE Charity. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

But Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said a probe by the ethics commissioner alone is insufficient, given the new revelations about payments to Trudeau family members before Ottawa awarded WE the contract to administer the the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG).

“It’s not just a conflict of interest. It’s much more serious than that. We have a prime minister that has used his powers to get a benefit out of an organization related to himself and his family,” he said in French.

Poilievre cited Section 121 of the Criminal Code as a potential avenue for the police.

That section, titled “frauds on the government,” says it’s an offence for someone to give an elected official or any member of their family “a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind as consideration for co-operation, assistance, exercise of influence or an act or omission in connection with the transaction of business with or any matter of business relating to the government.”

“We’re asking the relevant authorities if this could apply,” Poilievre said.

In a letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, Conservative ethics critic Michael Barrett said his party is also concerned about the seven other federal grants and contributions — valued at more than $5 million — that WE has received from Ottawa since 2017.

“I encourage the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate the possibility of criminal offences arising from these disturbing facts.  You and the very able members of the national police force possess the necessary skills, expertise and tools to get to the bottom of this,” Barrett said in the letter.

The initial decision to outsource the student grants program to a third party with ties to the prime minister’s family was criticized by some in the charitable sector and by the opposition Conservatives.

WE decided to pull out of the contract last week, citing the “controversy” over the partnership. WE agreed to give up the $19.5 million it was to be paid to administer the program.

Trudeau had defended the partnership, saying WE was the only group with a nationwide network capable of operating a program of this sort for young people. Other charitable organizations have questioned that assertion.

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said today the prime minister wasn’t the one who picked WE to dole out the grants to students.

He said that the recommendation came from bureaucrats working at Employment and Social Development Canada. They selected WE because of its extensive partnerships with other youth organizations, he told reporters.

“Make no mistake — the directions that we take are really based on the non-partisan advice that we get from our public service,” he said. “They made a clear recommendation and we followed that recommendation.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the government needs to produce the records that show public servants were behind the original recommendation to work with WE on this program.

He said Liberal parliamentarians should be just as curious as opposition MPs about the prime minister’s handling of this file.

“It’s getting to the point where I’d challenge other Liberal MPs and Liberal cabinet ministers — Did they know that the prime minister was in this position?” Scheer said in an interview with CBC’s Power & Politics. “When cabinet was signing off on this decision, was Mr. Trudeau open and forthright with his colleagues? Did he inform them what he was asking them to agree to?

“How closely do they want to be associated with Justin Trudeau’s ethical behaviour here? We really do need to get to the bottom of this.”

Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains spoke with reporters during an event at GM’s Oshawa facilities on Friday. 1:39

Barrett said it’s “essential” that the police probe the government’s decision to hand such a valuable contract to a “Trudeau and Liberal-friendly firm.”

“Canadians deserve to have a prime minister and a cabinet and a Parliament that they have confidence in,” he said. “It is clear that confidence has been shaken yet again.”

In an interview with Power and Politics, Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez insisted that federal bureaucrats were the ones who picked WE — and that it wasn’t the only charitable organization the government worked with to roll out pandemic aid. The government also has worked with the United Way and Food Banks Canada, he said.

He said the government is ready to move on with the grants program without WE.

“You have to understand that we’re in a COVID environment where we made decisions day-by-day — sometimes faster than we wanted,” Rodriquez said today. “Sometimes the programs weren’t perfect.”

He also promised that “all documents that can be shared will be shared.”

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Source: CFL submits revised financial request to federal government

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TORONTO — The CFL sent federal Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault a revised revised financial request Friday.

A league source said the league is seeking about $42.5 million in aid. In April, the CFL asked the federal government for up to $150 million in the event of a cancelled 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The source added the request is to over cover operating costs and player salaries for a shortened 2020 season and has involved input from the CFL Players’ Association.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither the government nor CFL have confirmed the request.

“We continue discussions with the federal government including discussions on our possible return to play,” the CFL said in a statement.

The CFL’s initial request of Ottawa consisted of three tiers: It called for $30 million immediately to manage the impact the outbreak has had on league business; additional assistance for an abbreviated regular season; and up to another $120 million in the event of a lost 2020 campaign.

When CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie spoke to a federal standing committee on finance in May, he was roundly criticized for failing to stipulate where the funds would go and not involving the CFL Players’ Association in the process.

The earliest an abbreviated ’20 season will begin is September but Ambrosie has stated a cancelled campaign also remains possible.

Last month, the CFL and CFLPA began talks at amending the current collective bargaining agreement to allow for an abbreviated season. Prior to negotiations beginning, the league gave the union a memo outlining the conditions it wanted and a completion deadline of July 23.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020.



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HIMSSCast: The ongoing financial toll of COVID-19 for health systems

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This isn’t a second wave. It’s a first wave that never really went away. That’s what experts are saying about the current COVID-19 resurgence. And just as the virus isn’t going anywhere soon, neither are the financial woes it’s creating for hospitals and health systems.

On this episode of HIMSSCast, host Jonah Comstock welcomes Healthcare Finance News Managing Editor Susan Morse and Associate Editor Jeff Lagasse to talk about the current state of affairs for hospitals.

 

More related to this episode:

Hospitals continue to bear the burden of the COVID-19 surge

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Primary care doctors say they’re not ready for the next COVID-19 surge

COVID-19 is forcing rural hospitals to rethink their business models

Hospitals see an increase in jobs for first time in two months, BLS reports

Hospitals have received most of the loans from the Paycheck Protection Program

HHS announces billion-dollar push toward experimental COVID-19 vaccine

Telehealth claims increased significantly between April 2019 and 2020, report shows

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