By Melissa Moore-Randall
Members of the RHS Student Senate recently visited the Massachusetts State House in support of a bill related to financial literacy courses. Matthew Terrell, Erta Ismahili, Raihan Ahmed, Salsabil Mendoza and Leah Zuniga represented Revere and RHS in support of a bill that would make a financial literacy course a graduation requirement statewide. Revere currently requires the course for graduation.
The students testified in front of the Joint Committee on Education and were joined by financial literacy experts, non-profits, and elected officials in favor of Bill H.4199. The bill was co-sponsored by State Representatives Jessica Giannino and Jeffrey Turco.
State Representative Jeff Turco said, “I am pleased to be a co-sponsor of H.4199. I was approached by RHS student leaders at Mayor Keefe’s Inauguration. They discussed the need for financial literacy for high school students across the Commonwealth and the fact that the Revere Public Schools were ahead of the curve in this regard. I was pleased to be present at the Joint Committee on Education hearing on this bill and was very impressed with the thoughtful and informative testimony of the numerous RHS students who testified.”
State Representative Jessica Giannino added, “I feel strongly that financial literacy should be taught to students across Massachusetts so that they can begin their life with tools to succeed. When I graduated, there was no class that explained how to write a check, balance a checkbook, or file your taxes. It was just assumed that you could figure it out. I am so glad that Revere is ahead of the State and already offers this as a course requirement. I am glad students today can leave high school with this knowledge.”
Raihan Ahmed, a Student Representative on the School Committee and also serves on the elected board of the Student Senate as well as the MA Association of Student Representatives (MASR) as the Director of Curriculum said, “Our testimonies were primarily centered around the transformative effects we have seen in our district and convincing the committee to vote affirmative of this bill as a result. I felt like I heard a lot of the same complaints about our education system: it’s not equipping students with the skills they truly need for life after high school. When students around the state, and the country are concerned about their financial wellness: student debt, not knowing how to file taxes, not knowing how to manage bills or start a retirement account, we are doing them a disservice by leaving them with no security and in the hands of online schemes that prey on youth’s drive to achieve financial freedom. By having students take a course at their high school, we are not only equipping all with the financial skills necessary for life after high school but also teaching them about accountability and consequences in the real world.”
Fellow student Erta Ismahili added, “On the topic of financial literacy, this issue is especially pertinent for students of Revere. Speaking from my own experience, I have had to help my parents with understanding credit card rates, filling out taxes, insurance, and more. Understanding that many other first-generation students experience the same in Revere, our financial literacy requirement serves as a lifeboat for many of us, and I hope that students across the state can be afforded the same support. While we are representatives of the Revere student body, we also must understand that there needs to be more consistent and widespread inclusion of ALL voices across the board.”
Mark Fellowes, the RHS Student Senate Advisor. “The group has been actively engaged in promoting the views of the student body and advocating on their behalf since our restart with them last year. They’ve been a dynamic, positive and creative force for students at RHS!”