Financial education pilot program in Clark County high schools shows promise - Las Vegas Sun Financial education pilot program in Clark County high schools shows promise - Las Vegas Sun

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Financial education pilot program in Clark County high schools shows promise - Las Vegas Sun

Financial education pilot program in Clark County high schools shows promise - Las Vegas Sun

Education:

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Christopher DeVargas

Mojave High School seniors Darryl Gorden (L) and Korizza Thomas (R) answer critical financial questions on a web-based program aimed towards helping them make better financial decisions, Wednesday May 30, 2012.

Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 2 a.m.

Financial Literacy

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In the aftermath of the Great Recession, policymakers across the country have turned their attention toward teaching youngsters about personal finance.

It’s not enough to teach reading and math, social studies and science, lawmakers said. Students need to understand how to avoid the very pitfalls that have trapped so many Americans with underwater mortgages and on the unemployment line.

More than 20 states now have laws on the books that require public schools to teach financial concepts relevant to the stock market, mortgages and credit card debt.

In 2009, Nevada adopted Senate Bill 317, which mandates that all school districts and charter schools incorporate financial literacy in the high school curriculum. Last month, the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office launched a $10,000 pilot program that teaches the basics of personal finance to students in Clark and Washoe counties.

The Clark County School District was already one step ahead, however.

For the past 15 years, the district has worked with the nonprofit Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada, which has been teaching financial literacy skills at elementary schools across the valley. Volunteers, often from local businesses, visited classrooms for a few hours each year to lead financial skills workshops using Junior Achievement’s curriculum of workbooks and colorful flashcards.

However, the program focused predominantly on elementary schoolchildren. Nevada’s financial education law specifically targeted high school students.

That’s why Clark County Schools Superintendent Dwight Jones launched a unique pilot program earlier this school year that uses an online virtual game to teach dry financial terms to students at 12 local high schools.

The “$mart Program” — developed by Washington, D.C.-based EverFi — is the second largest of its kind in the nation, said Jon Cirome, EverFi’s director of western operations. EverFi’s financial literacy game is being used in more than 3,500 schools across the nation, serving more than 4 million students.

“Financial education is not the most fun thing for students to learn,” Cirome said. “We’re taking an innovative approach to teaching financial literacy. We want to make it fun and engaging.”

The computer game brings students into virtual environments such as the New York Stock Exchange or the local car dealership to teach students about the stock market and how to read a car lease contract. Students can learn at their own pace, going through more than 600 financial concepts in banking, housing and investing.

After each lesson, students can learn how to file a sample W-4 tax return or a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. They can also play a virtual “SimCity”-like game that tests their knowledge of credit cards, credit scores and consumer fraud.

“It’s exciting that kids are finding this stuff fun,” Jones said,= after visiting the program at Mojave High School on Wednesday.

The “turnaround” school in North Las Vegas has seen the effects of the economic downturn firsthand. The city has been ground zero for the Great Recession, with the highest unemployment rate in a state that has the highest unemployment rate in the country. The neighborhoods surrounding Mojave have also been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, said Principal Antonio Rael.

“These are survival skills,” Rael said of financial literacy. “We get so focused on academics — which is paramount — but it’s also important to give students these real-life skills.”

Mojave senior Darryl Gorden agreed.

“It’s a good program for teenagers trying to get a job or go to college,” the 17-year-old said.

After participating students posted an average 35 percent improvement between the pre- and post-tests on the “$mart Program,” the School District is contemplating scaling up the pilot program to all 49 high schools, Jones said. The program is already being used in several large urban school districts, such as Miami-Dade.

The pilot program in Las Vegas costs $25,000 and is sponsored by the United Way of Southern Nevada and CitiBank. A scaling up of the program will likely be funded through local business sponsorships, Jones said.

However, technology has its limitations, said Averill Kelley, a Mojave teacher who has used “$mart Program” in his senior government class.

Half of his students don’t have access to a computer at home, which makes it difficult for Kelley to assign financial literacy homework to his students, he said.

Still, students seem to have taken to the program, which uses familiar computer game technology to engage them, Kelley said.

“They found it really useful,” he said. “But financial literacy needs to come earlier than (in their) senior year.”



Market Report: Sir Frank Chapman in the money but sell-off hits BG price - The Independent

The company was knocked back 59.5p to 1,224p following the revelation that its chief executive got rid of nearly 370,000 shares earlier in the week, selling them off at an average of 1,285p each. While by no means all of his stake – he still holds over 1.5 million shares – traders highlighted the lack of explanation for the sale, suggesting the reaction would have been better if the Square Mile had been given a reason.

Sir Frank, who is among the longest-serving Footsie bosses but plans to step down next year, will be wishing he had sold up a couple of months earlier. Back in March, before BG fell sharply along with the rest of the market, the stock reached 1,547p, meaning he could have earned himself nearly an extra £1m. Still, he may also point out that when he took the job back in 2000 the stock was less than a quarter of where it trades now.

BG was clearly in the mood for selling – it also announced it had struck a deal to get rid of its stake in two Philippines power plants for $360m (£231m). The group had agreed a sale of the business nearly two years ago which subsequently fell through.

It was not a good session for the oil companies in general as a sharp drop in the price of black gold weighed on the sector, with Tullow Oil dropping 49p to 1,427p and BP 8.55p lower at 398.3p.

It was the same story across the City as a torrent of bad news from the eurozone left the FTSE 100 93.86 points weaker at 5,297.28, while disappointing housing data from the States did not help. At the same time the heavyweight diggers were left deep in the red amid growing despondency over the likelihood of the Chinese government giving a major boost to the country's economy.

Another depressing factor was the fact a number of stocks were trading ex-dividend, including Marks & Spencer. The high street institution dipped 12.8p to 332.2p despite analysts from ING removing their "sell" advice, saying they welcomed the recent decision by M&S to cut back on its spending plans.

There were only six risers, with Severn Trent in the gold medal spot. The water utility – which has recently been boosted by takeover speculation – gushed up 42p to 1,706p after its full-year results beat the City's forecasts.

Arm Holdings edged 1p higher to 508.5p, with the chip designer helped by bullish comments late on Tuesday from customer Apple's boss Tim Cook on the tech giant's future plans.

Meanwhile, the decision by Dell to supply microservers using Arm's technology alongside those powered by chips from bitter rival Intel was being applauded by the Square Mile, with some suggesting this could result in extra annual sales of as much as $36m. At the same time, UBS's Gareth Jenkins was pointing out he believed further cash returns were likely from the chip designer.

Down on the FTSE 250, reports that a group of Indian ministers have recommended that coal blocks allocated to Essar Energy should get the green light saw the power giant spark up 25.5p to 141.8p. However, it was quick to say it believed the final decision would be taken by the Indian cabinet and that no official notification had been received yet.

Centamin was in demand. A revised development plan for its Sukari mine in Egypt saw the gold digger tick up 2.5p to 64.25p, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterating its "buy" advice.

While Booker's deal to buy wholesaler Makro saw the cash and carry firm jump 7.9p to 87p, it was not the only purchase to receive a positive reaction.

On Aim, the environmental support services company Silverdell saw its shares lifted by 1p to 11.12p after saying that its £15m acquisition of EDS Group would be "transformational".

In the wake of talk that Maxim Barsky is rejoining TNK-BP as an adviser, having resigned as deputy chief executive of the Anglo-Russian group last year, dealers were highlighting vague speculation recently that it could be a step on the way to him taking the top job.

This, they suggested, may not be too promising for driller Matra Petroleum (0.12p worse off at 2.42p) of whom Mr Barsky recently became boss, although others have talked down the possibility of him getting the top job at TNK-BP.



Toyota launches financial services, to invest 260 cr - Silicon India
New Delhi: Japanese auto major Toyota announced the launch of its financial services in the Indian market with plans to invest 260 crore initially.

Toyota Financial Services India (TFSI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota Financial Services Corporation, will start operations in Delhi and NCR and will be gradually expanded to other metros within this fiscal.

"We will start the retail business from June 5 through dealerships in Delhi, NCR and Bangalore. The initial investments for starting the financial services in Rs 260 crore," TFSI Managing Director and CEO Kazuki Ogura told reporters here.

Stating that India will be the 34th country where TFS will have operations, he said the company will look to gradually expand operations here.

"The aim is to reach to other metro cities within this fiscal," Ogura said, adding if required the company could increase the investments here.

TFSI will focus only on Toyota customers in India and the company will provide interest rates on loans comparable to the market, which is around 12-12.5%, he added.

"Globally, we are not the least when it comes to interest rates. Yet, we have the best penetration rates in markets like US and China through our overall financial package," Toyota Financial Services Corporation Executive Vice-President Eiji Hirano said.

"India is a market full of opportunities...By 2015 it is estimated that the car market here will touch four million units (a year). It is the right time to enter India at this moment," he added.

Asked what kind of incremental sales Toyota is expecting after the launch of the financial services, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Managing Director Hiroshi Nakagawa said: "It is too early to say but this will definitely help us enhance the Toyota brand even further."

Globally, TFS has around 17 million customers with assets in the excess of $150 billion. It employs 8,400 people worldwide.
Source: PTI



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  • STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-ITV weak on Liberum advertising caution - Reuters UK

    Thu May 31, 2012 10:20am BST

    Shares in ITV shed 4.4 percent, the biggest FTSE 100 faller, with the index up 0.9 percent, as Liberum Capital issues a cautious note on the commercial broadcaster, saying conversations with media buyers suggest July and August may be difficult months.

    "The indications we are hearing suggest the July and August TV advertising markets may be weaker than expected with reports some advertisers have cancelled planned campaigns," Liberum says, retaining its "buy" stance on ITV shares but flagging up expected short-term volatility in the stock.

    The broker says the overall TV advertising market could be down more than 10 percent in July, with ITV slightly ahead of this, while for August, there is a smaller decline, with the market down around 5 percent and ITV off 3-4 percent, and it sees a smaller still decline in September.

    Liberum says this would imply ITV advertising falling by around 4 percent in the third quarter versus earlier indications of more than 4 percent growth.

    The broker says is is not changing its stance or estimates for ITV, as it likes the stock because of its longer-term fundamentals, the restructuring story and the possibility of cash returns that its net cash position allows.

    "However, if the Q3 estimates are correct, it may cause downward pressure on the stock in the short term so investors should be aware of this," Liberum says.

    Reuters messaging rm://jon.hopkins.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net



    Money proves to be stumbling block - Mohave Daily News
    FLAGSTAFF (AP) — American Indian tribes authorized to triple the amount of time tribal members can spend in jail say they’re challenged by a lack of funding.

    The increase in tribal courts’ sentencing authority from one year to three years for a single crime came two years ago under the federal Tribal Law and Order Act. But a U.S. Government Accountability Office report released Wednesday showed that none of the 109 tribes who responded to a survey about the sentencing increase were taking advantage of it.

    Nearly all of those tribes said they need more money and technical help from the federal government to provide public defenders, establish or update criminal codes, and have sufficiently trained judges as the law requires.

    The report shows 36 of the tribes surveyed are working toward the new authority. Another 34 tribes were unsure whether they would go in that direction, while 31 said they had no plans to do so, the report said. The enhanced sentencing isn’t mandatory for tribes.

    Troy Eid, chairman of the Indian Law and Order Commission born out of the Tribal Law and Order Act, said tribes across the country are exploring the authority but it will take time to get all the elements in place if that’s the path they choose.

    “My impression is that within the next year, you’ll start to see some tribes actually implementing the system,” he said. “Tribes are being super careful. No tribe wants to get this issue wrong; it has to be legally correct.”

    The GAO cautioned the report isn’t representative of all tribes. Congressional investigators identified 171 of the 566 federally recognized tribes that received federal funding for tribal courts to include in the survey, but not all of them responded.

    Tribal leaders have said a year in jail for any crime under tribal law, including homicide, hasn’t served as much of a deterrent on reservations. Members of the Navajo Nation Council have been debating whether the enhanced sentencing provision would help send a message that tribal officials are serious about combatting crime.

    “The bad guys are saying they could get away with anything on the rez, which now pretty much is true,” said Edmund Yazzie, chairman of the Navajo Nation Council’s Law and Order Committee, and a former sheriff’s deputy. “But now the committee is trying to take another look at it.”

    Seventy of the tribes surveyed said they had at least half the requirements in place to hand down lengthier sentences, but some are choosing not to because of associated costs, like probation. One unnamed tribe said it has had an effective criminal and civil justice system for 40 years without the requirement of a law-trained judge, and that hiring one from outside the community would be unreasonable.

    The Hopi Tribe in Arizona set aside funds from its own budget to hire law-trained judges and a prosecutor last year to meet the requirements of the tribal law and order act, said tribal Chairman Le Roy Shingoitewa. The tribal council is expected to vote on an updated criminal code next month that Shingoitewa says could help ensure that victims get justice.

    “Now we have some teeth in enforcing our laws. Previous to this, all we did is slap the hands of perpetrators,” he said.

    Tribes receive funding, training and other assistance through the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Department of Justice, but it’s not always enough.

    The BIA said it has provided more than 60 recording devices to tribes to help them meet another requirement that they maintain a record of criminal proceedings. The agency said it has plans to give 15 more to tribes that request them and also has asked for $1 million more in funding for tribal courts in its 2013 budget justification.

    The GAO recommended that the federal government clarify to tribes the funding sources available to help them pursue the enhanced sentencing.

    Mato Standing High, attorney general of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, said the tribe is fortunate in that it has the financial resources to meet many of the requirements under the Tribal Law and Order Act. The only thing missing is an updated tribal code that would reflect a new class of crimes, like rape, arson or homicide, with lengthier sentences, he said.

    The tribe hasn’t decided officially whether to move forward with the enhanced sentencing authority, he said, but is considering how to classify crimes after comparing them to state and federal crimes and penalties.

    “Tribes really need to see it as an opportunity to exercise sovereignty and have more local control,” Standing High said. “That’s the goal of it, and I understand also that it takes a lot of resources that a lot of tribes don’t have.”





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