Some Actionable Words About Financial Privilege

I teach high school and have only ever taught in ‘alternative’ programs, i.e., schools that are focused on engaging students for whom a traditional high school experience is not working. Throughout my career, I’ve spent time with all sorts—homeless kids, white kids, black, brown kids, rich kids, privileged kids, under-privileged kids. This experience has provided me with the understanding of my own privilege and how I came to have it, being a white upper-middle class woman (albeit with a lot of student loan and mortgage debt), but in a financial place that is more than enough and with a foundation, due to the sole fact that I was born to white, middle-class parents who paved the way for me.

While the focus of my blog is not opportunity equality or wealth redistribution, I am aware of and am learning about how to use my position as an educator and citizen of my community to advocate for the financial well-being of people who otherwise may not have the financial privilege I or others have had.

Instead of just recognizing privilege, I want to use my privilege to make real paths for people to have hope and a way to have enough. Obviously, my experience as a teacher frames all of this, as I believe the earlier you start educating a child about these systems and how to ‘game’ them, the better.

Ways I do this are:
  • Donating part of my income to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU
  • Creating and teaching lessons about financial literacy with our Social Studies teacher, focusing on basic concepts like interest rates and budgeting and providing resources for students to locate once they leave high school
  • Creating lessons that involve community partners conducting mock interviews with my students, as well as a job and career fair
  • Advocating for teacher pay as part of our Union
Further plans include:
  • More reading about how teenagers can be exposed to the FI (Financial Independence) movement and build their lives around the principles of FI
  • More education about teaching students about investing
  • More political involvement to change wealth inequality in our country