It's financial literacy month, and in Prince George's County, some students are leaning into learning all things finance. The school system, one of the most diverse in Maryland, now requires students to complete financial literacy classes.
A financial literacy class in Crossland High School goes beyond balancing a checkbook; it challenges students to divide and conquer the complications of money.
Shiloh McCray, a ninth grader at the school, said she's learning about investing, income and loans.
Another ninth grade student, Kenneth Pinkney, said, "It's important to spend your money wisely and make sure you manage it well."
Managing money begins with understanding it. In this school, filled with Black and brown students, they also discuss why some communities have more than others.
Nikki Guy-Dixon, a financial literacy teacher at Crossland, said she taught students about redlining, the housing crash and predatory lending.
Susan Bistransin taught financial education as an elective for years. She pushed to make it a requirement system-wide this year.
Prince George's County
News4's Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports.
"Financial literacy is incredibly important. You are going to use every single lesson you learn in this class for the rest of your life because money is our common denominator," said Bistransin, financial education and empowerment coordinator for Prince George's County Public Schools.
Dhamari Bonner said that as a kid overwhelmed by social media marketing and influencing, he's learning to be a smart money manger and consumer.
"You have to do what you have to, and not try to gloat for anybody on social media because you don't know what happens behind closed doors for them, and you don't want to try to think you have this big lifestyle when you don't," said Bonner, a ninth grader.
This program is a big deal for Prince George's County because they are the eighth school district to require financial literacy for graduation in the state of Maryland.
The financial literacy class lasts for one semester. The class of 2024 will be the first to be required to have the class in order to graduate.