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Inflation, credit scores, savings accounts -- here's what NYC students are learning about in financial literacy classes

Take a look inside one NYC high school's financial literacy class
Take a look inside one NYC high school's financial literacy class 03:34

NEW YORK -- All New York City public high schools are now teaching financial literacy in some form.

Very rarely can a teacher know with 100% certainty that what they're teaching will be used in life by every single student. Jerome Morgan does.

"I was someone who also struggled with understanding how finance works," he said.

Science Skills High School in Downtown Brooklyn, like all public high schools in the city, is teaching its students financial literacy. CBS New York's Doug Williams sat in on the class, which featured fairly important topics like inflation and the importance of saving money.

Then, students participated in an interactive exercise. Students picked a job and a place to live and were hit with prompts that simulated a variety of expenses and choices to make in the span of a month. The goal was to have money left over at the end. It might as well be called "adulthood."

"A lot of things just kept happening just back to back to back," student Anthony Brown said.

The exercise would make any adult watching squirm because the scenarios weren't far-fetched:  fender benders, medical bills, having children. One student had $200 left for the month and got a prompt that his mother needed $100 for a medication, and it was up to him to decide what to prioritize.

"Making a lot of sacrifices -- that was the biggest thing. And also making choices like the last minute that you have to think about your health and you have to think about your kid on the side," student Arielle Dorisme said.

Arielle is in 12th grade, but is already using what she's learning in the class. She has a paid job at UBS Bank, and her paychecks go into her own checking account. On an overseas school trip recently, she worked with her parents to cover some of the expenses herself.

"The very, very last payment, I did it myself. So I was very, very proud of it was my own paycheck, my own money," she said.

"That's why they love it. For the first time, I heard one of my students say they feel like this is something they could actually use on the outside," Morgan said.

New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said too many parents and former students had said, "I have this nice diploma, but I have no idea how the world works." He said it is "not acceptable" to him that students graduate not knowing how to buy a house, how to start their own checking account or how Wall Street operates.

Morgan saw an email from the Department of Education about the program and signed up, and now he's certified to teach each lesson. Later ones include credit cards and all types of insurance.

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