Former Gov. Rhodes said ‘Profit isn’t a dirty word.’ Now, Ohio students will learn about capitalism

Posted on:

< < Back to

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ohio Statehouse News Bureau) – Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill that passed with both Republican and Democratic votes that adds lessons on free-market capitalism into the financial literacy course already required for Ohio’s high school students.

An image of students in a classroom, many of them wearing masks.
Students in a classroom at a Worthington Kilbourne High School in March 2020, a year after the COVID-19 pandemic had closed schools statewide. [Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau]
Senate Bill 17 requires ten principles of capitalism to be taught as part of a financial literacy course that’s been required for graduation since 2022. Those include private ownership of raw materials, labor, and capital; individuals’ power to control their own ability to work and earn wages; the effect supply and demand of goods and services has on market prices; and the goal of profit for both sellers and buyers in a free market transaction.

And while the state will be giving schools direction on what to teach in the course, there won’t be new teachers in schools to teach it. Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association says the new law allows it to be taught by licensed math teachers.

“Here we are talking about people who are already fully and appropriately licensed taking on an additional or specific course but the content of this course isn’t so fundamentally different that math teachers are not able to do it,” DiMauro said.

Business, social studies and consumer sciences teachers are also allowed to teach the financial literacy class. DiMauro said that’s a key part of this bill.

“We support local flexibility in terms of how that is done. Math teachers, business teachers, and social studies teachers have all been teaching financial literacy in one way or another,” DiMauro said.

Most Democrats in the House opposed the bill, calling it an election-year stunt. Rep. Sean Patrick Brennan (D-Parma), a former social studies teacher, said there are 27 concepts teachers already teach in a semester-long course and this new law adds ten more. He said adding capitalism is redundant to what’s already being taught. Further, he noted the state is in the financial literacy test is being developed now.

“We are kind of fixing the airplane as we are flying it,” Brennan said.

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate.

Sen. Steve Wilson (R-Maineville), the sponsor of the bill, told lawmakers last spring that capitalism needs to be taught and it is beneficial for all students.

“It is the great equalizer. Everyone needs it – from the tradesman to the doctor,” Wilson said.

The law will go into effect for the upcoming school year.