By Jill Winsor
We’ve Launched the Financial Education Standards!
On March 21st, we gathered together with 100 of Oregon’s finest financial educators for the roll-out of the Oregon Individual Development Account Initiative’s Financial Education Standards.
Financial education is central to the success of the Oregon Individual Development Account Initiative. The Financial Education Standards were developed in collaboration with Initiative partners to enable all IDA participants, no matter their location in the state, to receive robust, high quality education. These Standards will ensure that through the Initiative, IDA savers will have access to the essential tools necessary to make financial decisions in an increasingly complex and evolving financial environment, and to know how to seek additional resources as their circumstances evolve after their IDA ends.
Equality and Equity and the Standards
During our March training, we talked about how the Standards allow us to ensure that everyone participating in an IDA, regardless of where they are in the state of Oregon or which organization they are working with, will receive an equal, high quality education. We cannot stop at equality. We must also apply equity to our financial education work, making sure that we are shifting, adjusting, and adding to the baseline of the Standards so that we are adequately meeting the needs of our communities. By using an equity lens, we are able to acknowledge that our communities are situated differently and we need to provide different tools and approaches in different communities to make our Financial Education meaningful and impactful. Using an equity lens brings the Standards to life, making them responsive and appropriate for our different communities. Using an equity lens allows us to acknowledge the risk of standardization, that it can turn our financial education into another rigid system. By using an equity lens, we challenge ourselves to keep seeing and valuing the uniqueness, resilience and ingenuity of our communities.
We Have a Lot of Work to do Together!
Through the course of the day we were able to have an honest conversation about where each IDA program is at in terms of meeting the Standards. There are some standards that most organizations are already meeting extremely well. Other Standards are not yet being met. We are asking all IDA Initiative programs to conduct a full inventory of their financial education so that we have the data we need to understand how the Standards are being met on the ground. If you are a member of the Initiative, please complete this survey to help us understand how the Standards currently interact with the financial education you provide.
Together, we will need to define what it means to “meet” the Standards and identify barriers in this work. Moving forward, we need the insight and energy of our IDA providers! Help shape how the Standards are implemented by signing up to participate on one of our workgroups – Resource Library Workgroup and Training Workgroup.
Thanks so much to our breakout session facilitators, Carrie Schmid from REACH CDC, Victoria Vale from NeighborImpact, and Ross Kanaga from NEDCO who provided great examples of how the Standards can be implemented in financial education settings.
Please contact Laina Green for more information on the Standards and any questions about how you can help shape this work moving forward.