Financial literacy courses proposed for local schools

Financial literacy courses courtesy of the FoolProof Foundation may soon be available for local students.

Mike Sheffer, the foundation’s director of education, spoke with administrators with school corporations in Seymour, Crothersville, Medora and Brownstown on Monday afternoon at Raymond James Financial Services in Seymour.

FoolProof is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing income inequality by teaching individuals of all ages financial self-defense skills through an online program free for users as funding comes from donations.

Galen Krumme, a financial advisor at Raymond James, introduced Jennifer Inman, executive director of the Kentucky Financial Commission.

“I have vetted (FoolProof) as a teacher myself,” Inman said. “I taught financial literacy education as a dual credit course with Northern Kentucky University in the high school setting. When I saw the program, I thought, ‘OK, this works as a teacher’ because it has all the bells and whistles on the back end from a grading and tracking standpoint, but it also has the content and the curriculum.”

Sheffer said he was a personal finance teacher for 32 years in Corning, New York. He also was a basketball and golf coach.

“FoolProof was actually created in my classroom,” he said. “I’m now on the road full time for FoolProof, which is a passion of mine.”

Sheffer said Indiana is requiring the graduating Class of 2028 to have taken a 20-week course in personal finance.

He said this is important because it is necessary to teach students to protect their financial well-being in the age of digital advertising and artificial intelligence.

Sheffer said while FoolProof is an online program and module-based, teachers will be challenged through professional development to be active in the classroom.

“Don’t let your teachers say to your students, ‘Here’s FoolProof. Go get it,’” Sheffer told administrators. “I want to teach teachers how to use and inject everything they have into the curriculum.”

Sheffer said students taking dual enrollment and Advanced Placement classes with no time to take the class in person can do it completely digitally.

He also said FoolProof is available for both high school and middle school students. For elementary school students, FoolProof has partnered with author Sheila Bair, former chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., to donate books set in Bair’s Money Tales universe to schools nationwide.

“I love the idea of high schoolers and middle schoolers going into elementary schools and reading to kids,” Sheffer said.

High schoolers taking a FoolProof class can expect 19 financial literacy courses lasting 45 to 60 minutes, 20 assignments and 15 group activities. The final exam is an average of the student’s previous exam scores.

Middle schoolers can anticipate nine modules taking about 20 minutes each and covering 20-plus topics.