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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont pushes for more financial literacy education in schools

Half of the country now has state laws that require financial literacy for high schoolers, teaching them the ins and outs of balancing a checkbook, opening a bank account and more.

Some educators and elected officials, like Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, are calling for such programs to be taught nationwide.

Lamont, who pushed for the program in his state last year, spoke with ABC News Live's Linsey Davis Tuesday about the issue.

PHOTO: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is interviewed by ABC News.  (ABC News)
PHOTO: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is interviewed by ABC News. (ABC News)

ABC NEWS LIVE: So give us a sense, one year later: Has the requirement made a big difference?

GOV. NED LAMONT: We're just getting started, but it's going to be a requirement in all of our high schools to have the credit. You and I took economics maybe some years ago. Me, back in the Ming Dynasty, was microeconomics. [It was] not very relevant. Today we want people to have the basic skills they need to live, be it take out a bank loan or a mortgage, balancing the checkbook, credit card overpayment, draft fees, [and] basics of life.

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ABC NEWS LIVE: So our government could probably benefit from this. Balancing the checkbook, not over-drafting. All of that. What do you say to those who argue that this is important but shouldn't be a requirement?

LAMONT: I think what is necessary to live in the 21st century should be a requirement. And we've been teaching economics, as I joked, [in] a variety of different ways over the last 100 years. But making it relevant to people's lives makes education come to life, and that's what we're trying to do.

ABC NEWS LIVE: Congress just hosted its annual bipartisan financial literacy fair on Capitol Hill. So there's an obvious eagerness for this in Washington. Is there a push for a national adoption of this as a requirement for high schoolers, and do you think there should be?

LAMONT: I think it makes pretty good sense. If you want to give us another year to see how it works out and how we're really making things happen, then come to Connecticut. We'll tell you what we got right and what we got to work on.

ABC NEWS LIVE: As governor of a state, you've pushed for regulation of social media in our classrooms, talking about the distraction it poses to children. You brought up TikTok, in particular in your last State of the State address, and the app could very well be banned soon due to legislation on Capitol Hill, as you well know. You've said a national ban would be a "slippery slope." How so?

LAMONT: I think when you start telling people what they can watch or what they can't watch, that could be a slippery slope. I would be very careful about that. But Linsey, what we've done in Connecticut, I recommend it to all of our superintendents. Let's get the smartphones out of the schools, or at least out of the classrooms. And we're coming up with a policy there that superintendents can act on, where you maybe drop your iPhone into a Yondr pouch on your way into the school, and you pick it up at the end of the day. In the meantime, you listen and actually interact with your fellow students.

MORE: Teaching children the value of money

ABC NEWS LIVE: Interaction with fellow students. What a novel idea there. But I am curious, do you think that TikTok poses a security threat?

LAMONT: I think potentially it does. And it's not necessarily by a foreign government, but ByteDance, which has major American investors in it, as you probably know. You know, there is a risk there. I rely upon the intelligence community. I just say I want to be very careful before you abridge people's First Amendment rights, [and] what they can say and what they can do. We do that carefully.

PHOTO: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is interviewed by ABC News.  (ABC News)
PHOTO: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is interviewed by ABC News. (ABC News)

ABC NEWS LIVE: Understood. I am curious, would you disagree with the president if he were to sign legislation banning it?

LAMONT: No, I think I'd follow his lead on that. He has more of the intelligence briefings than I do. I would just say be careful. Our freedoms are often abridged in the name of national security. Be careful.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont pushes for more financial literacy education in schools originally appeared on abcnews.go.com