As with most education programs, the earlier you get the student, the more effective the teaching will be. That’s why the National Council for Economic Education (NCEE) has developed a complete program for K through 8 students called “Financial Fitness for Life,” says its president and CEO Robert Duvall. “Economics and financial literacy is learned behavior,” argues Duvall, and since “we don’t wait until someone gets their first job to teach them to read,” why, he wonders, should we wait until people enter the workforce to learn how the financial system operates? Founded in 1949, NCEE (ncee.net) offers a host of educational materials to teachers and regularly surveys financial literacy programs in the different states and among the population. There is some room for hope, however. The NCEE’s survey of state requirement in economics finds that 17 states require that an economics course be offered to high school students, 15 of those make completion of the course a graduation requirement, and that nine states require testing in personal finance, with seven states requiring personal finance as a requirement for graduation.