A crowd of Miami-Dade students got a rocking lesson in personal finance — thanks to one teacher who’s determined to talk to kids about money.
Laurie Futterman has been teaching middle schoolers how to write checks and calculate interest for years at David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center in Northeast Miami-Dade. On Friday, she raised the volume on her lessons with the help of some unlikely teachers: the rock band Gooding.
They jammed in front of more than 1,000 high-school and middle-school students from across the county who filled the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
I learned I should be careful when I use a credit card. Laisha Lugones, Hialeah Gardens Middle student
When Gooding isn’t making music for television shows like CSI and commercials for Yamaha motorcycles, the musical trio travels the country to teach kids about savings accounts and bankruptcy. They have their own nonprofit, Funding the Future, and rely on local sponsors to tour. Laura Steckler of Raymond James financial footed the bill for Friday’s show.
The students screamed, clapped and asked questions about credit cards and credit scores. Eighth-grade student Laisha Lugones said it was the first time an adult had talked to her about money matters.
“I learned I should be careful when I use a credit card,” said Laisha, who attends Hialeah Gardens Middle.
They love money. They connect with it. Laurie Futterman, teacher
Florida requires kids to be taught money lessons. In the age of virtual money and mobile banking, Futterman goes old school to meet that mandate. She teaches her middle schoolers with hands-on lessons that capture kids’ attention. For example, students in her class play the stock market with virtual money and write checks to each other.
“They love money. They connect with it,” Futterman said.
She invited the band down for their first Florida gigs after reading a write-up about them, and coordinated with sponsors and the school district to make Friday’s concert happen.
“I’m hoping that they just gain life skills that they may not ordinarily get because there’s just no one to teach them,” Futterman said.
Gooding jammed for about 30 minutes, playing original songs that had students dancing in the aisles and singing along with the chorus, except for a few who were too cool to join in the fun. Music “makes the medicine go down,” said front-man Gooding, a guitarist and singer who goes by one name professionally. The other members are drummer Jesse Rich and bass player Billy Driver.
Gooding ends the show with a 20-minute chat about the dangers of payday lenders and importance of opening an IRA. Faces of famous people who’ve gone broke flash on a giant screen.
We’re prepared for the future. Tyler Ward, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High student
“You may not have someone at home talking about this,” Gooding said. “We gotta get our savings going, we gotta know our credit score and we have to pay our bills on time.”
Tyler Ward, a freshman at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, said the concert helped reinforce things he’s learning in business classes at school. He wants to open a company one day, Ward said.
“We’re prepared for the future,” he said. “It’s how I’ll become a great businessman.”