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CEO testifies for Colorado financial literacy bill
ARVADA, Colo. (1/31/08)--The CEO of Denver Community CU testified Monday before the Colorado State House Education Committee in support of legislation promoting financial literacy in elementary and secondary schools.
Carla Hedrick, CEO of Denver Community CU, speaks to the Colorado State House Education Committee in support of legislation promoting financial literacy in elementary and secondary schools. (Photos provided by the Credit Union Association of Colorado)
House Bill 08-1168 is sponsored by Reps. Rosemary Marshall (D-Denver) and Ken Summers (R-Jefferson), and Sens. Chris Romer (D-Denver) and Josh Penry (R-Mesa). The bill underscores the value of including financial literacy in the curriculum of the state and state board of education, and challenges school districts to add financial literacy standards to the state's mathematics content standards. It pioneers financial literacy standards as an integral part of the state's assessment in math under the Colorado student assessment program, according to the Credit Union Association of Colorado (CUAC). According to Timothy Dore, senior vice president for government affairs at CUAC, "This legislation gets to the heart of the issue and sends a message that financial literacy begins in childhood and continues throughout a person's life all the way to retirement and beyond." He added that the legislation is "an important step to ensuring all children develop and strengthen their financial literacy skills." In her testimony on behalf of CUAC and credit unions, Hedrick said she has heard many people say their parents never taught them about finances and money. Kids are excited to receive tools and knowledge they haven't been exposed to before and can take home to their parents, she said, adding kids become the teachers and share the information.
Representing credit unions at a Colorado State House Education Committee hearing and supporting House Bill 08-1168 were, from left: Peter Kirchhof, lobbyist; Carla Hedrick, CEO, Denver Community CU; and Timothy Dore, senior vice president of government affairs at the Credit Union Association of Colorado.
Kids are the best way--maybe the only way--to break the generational cycle of financial illiteracy, she told the committee. Also testifying were representatives from the banking industry, Colorado Division of Real Estate and others. The committee tabled the bill until today to review some of the issues raised. Denver Community CU's bilingual program, offered through schools and community organizations, is presented internally at the credit union for members and nonmembers, and externally through community partners. It offered more than 100 classes the past year through community organizations. The $206 million asset credit union also provided a financial literacy education program to departments of Denver Health. The credit union said the program was well-received. "The bottom line is that not only do many adults not have a grasp on financial literacy but kids are not learning these vital skills at home or anywhere else," said Hedrick. "It is generational and does not respect income or education levels. We can all help, but the schools reach all of our children and can have the greatest impact." She noted that the program is already developed and is free.

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