High schools in Pasco County, Florida, moved a step closer to using the Dave Ramsey book in new financial literacy courses this month after an attorney was hired to resolve a dispute with school district officials over the book’s selection. WUSFAn NPR member station based in Tampa Bay.
Attorney James A. Robinson, who was chosen as the “impartial hearing officer,” determined that using Ramsey’s “Personal Finance Basics” in public schools would not violate the law, despite the reference to Bible verses.
“Ramsey noted that portions of the textbook include references to the Gospels of Luke and Matthew and Proverbs, alongside quotes from Aristotle, Maya Angelou, Thomas Jefferson, Nelson Mandela, and Yogi Berra, among others,” WUSF reported. He referred to the five-page decision he submitted on October 16.
“Quotations from the Gospels and parables do not constitute religious proselytizing. There is no attempt to convert anyone to a particular religious viewpoint. “The inclusion of quotes does not violate the Constitution or any applicable law,” Robinson wrote, noting that the Bible verses reflect financial wisdom that is “generally accepted in the culture.”
Dave Ramsey books in high schools
The conflict in Pasco County broke out after the Florida Governor’s speech. Republican Ron DeSantis signed a law in March 2022 that requires high school students in Florida to take a financial literacy class to be eligible for graduation. Students starting high school this fall will be the first to be subject to the legislation.
“Financial literacy is an important life skill for a student to have,” DeSantis said. Press release When did he sign the law? “Ensuring that our students have the skills to manage their finances and perhaps one day own a job will benefit our state.”
While the Florida Department of Education was trying to determine which textbooks could be used for the new required course, Ramsey said, “Personal Finance BasicsIt was designed for high school students by the conservative Christian radio host’s company.
Although the Ramsey textbook teaches worldly financial skills, it includes quotes from the Bible to illustrate the points being made. Bible passages included include quotes from Proverbs 23 and Proverbs 26. NPR.
“Personal Finance Fundamentals” is also controversial for its presentation of concepts such as debt and credit card spending.
“The main idea in this book is; There are three points. One, debt is bad. Two, pay cash. Third, if you have debt, you are, quote, ‘stupid,'” social studies teacher Beverly Ledbetter told NPR.
WUSF noted that debt is also referred to as “sin” in the Ramsey book.
Over the objections of people like Ledbetter, Ramsey’s “Fundamentals of Personal Finance” was included in the list of approved materials for this year’s financial literacy classes.
But according to WUSF, the overall debate has not yet been resolved because “the Florida Department of Education has yet to publish specific standards that will guide future financial literacy coursework.”
As the Deseret News previously reported, Ramsey’s textbook has already been approved for use in financial literacy courses in several states, including Utah.
Dave Ramsey textbook on Pasco County
Amid uncertainty about Florida’s future financial literacy curriculum, a school district in Pasco County has implemented plans to use Ramsey’s textbook in its high schools.
Many community members, including teachers, objected, so Robinson was asked to evaluate the legality of the school district’s plans.
WUSF noted that Robinson’s ruling “characterizes the Pasco County school district’s arguments as ‘persuasive’ because it details how school officials complied with laws and policies in selecting a textbook newly added to the Florida State Department of Education’s approved list.”
The school district, now in possession of Robinson’s report, is expected to make its final decision on “Fundamentals of Financial Literacy” at the Nov. 7 school board meeting.