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Ensuring Financial Literacy for Tomorrow's Citizens

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Joyce B. Cowin

Joyce B. Cowin

Every person past the ninth grade should have knowledge of money – how to finance a college education, how to balance a checkbook, how to ensure that expenses don’t exceed income, how to monitor a credit card and interest, how to shop for clothes and food, how much to pay for rent and what a mortgage is,” says Joyce B. Cowin (M.A. ’52).

To that end, a generous gift from Joyce, who is a TC alumna and longtime Trustee, is funding a partnership among Teachers College, the New York City Department of Education and the nonprofit Working in Support of Education (W!SE): The Cowin Financial Literacy Project, a unique professional development program for New York City public school teachers working with students in grades 9-12. The first workshops for teachers from select New York City schools will begin in Summer 2013. The program has been developed by TC faculty member Anand Marri, with consultation by alumna Pola Rosen. New York State Education Commissioner John King also has fully endorsed the new program.

“This collaboration is a wonderful example of partnership between the public and private sectors, with the goal of strengthening New York City public school students’ skills in an important field,” Dennis M. Walcott, New York City Schools Chancellor, wrote to Joyce. “Financial literacy is necessary for our students’ success in the 21st century.”

To help ensure that The Cowin Financial Literacy Project takes hold throughout the New York City school system and beyond, the EdLab unit of Teacher’s College’s Gottesman Libraries will create a website from which teachers can download the project’s materials at no charge.

For Joyce Cowin, financial literacy is a moral imperative. “When the market collapsed in 2008, so many wonderful, hardworking people who had saved money throughout their lives were snookered about subprime mortgages, and they lost everything,” she says. “We need to educate the next generation to ensure this never happens again.”
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