- Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 November 2008 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 26 November 2008 05:00
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At the last regular School Board meeting member Anne Congdon introduced a program called the Reality Store to be brought up for discussion at the December work session.
The program was designed by The Virginia Cooperative Extension to comply with VA. Code Section 22.1-200.03B; which directs the Virginia Board of Education to “establish objectives for economic education and financial literacy.”
The program would require no money from the school's budget but would, however, require the time and effort of 20 volunteers.
The Reality Store would be a workshop with tables set up to represent different financial institutions such as the bank or IRS, financial obligations, for house, car payments, or credit cards and various retailers. Each student would be allowed to select a career or be appointed one. They would be assigned a family and be given monopoly money or a balance sheet to represent their earnings.
Students would be required to visit the various stations and make a purchase, learn to balance their money and make it last for one month, as well as one year. Students would also be taught the value of higher education by learning to include tuitions in to their budget.
The VCE has reported success in many areas
One successful program’s evaluation showed 89% found that their future occupation is tied to their current school performance and community involvement. 98% said they would plan for higher education. 80% felt they needed to change the way they spend money on incidentals. 85% said the program gave them more awareness of how to make smart financial decisions. 95% were motivated to open savings accounts.
Congdon’s motivation for this and two other programs comes from her knowledge of the Town's new Comprehensive Plan that is being worked on now. In it some alarming statistics affecting our younger population sparked her concerns.
Information from discussions during the revamping of the Comprehensive plan state that the largest exodus from Colonial Beach are those between the ages of 18 and 44 and that the majority of the Town’s residents have either only a high school diploma or have dropped out between 9th and 12th grade, said Congdon in her report. She also found that college students are not allowed to apply for government subsidized housing such as Riverwood. “Which means," Congdon said, “if you are living in Riverwood and decide you need to further your education to better provide for your family, you lose your housing”.
Congdon asked that the Board put discussions on the table for next month concerning the Virginia Individual Development Accounts (VIDA) Program and the Virginia Enterprise Initiative.
VIDA allows qualified parents to save money for a house, business or education and will match their savings two dollars to every one dollar saved up to $4000.
The Virginia Enterprise Initiative provides $35,000 business start up funds for minorities, low income and women for particular businesses, excluding restaurants.
Among many other items of concern Congdon responded to was a recent comment from one of her colleagues saying she takes the education in our schools too personally. Congdon explains, “I take it very seriously that we as a school directly impact the future quality of life for our students and the families they will have”.
In response to her using her own children as examples she said, “Although my children do not always appreciate being used as an example, it would be an invasion of privacy to use other parents and children as a reference.”
Congdon feels she won her seat on council for the privilege of representing her constituents and says she is obligated to ask questions on their behalf.