Dough-Main! – Transcript – Rob Church, Ken Damato, and Sandy Quirinale w/Kurt Baker

Written by on June 3, 2018

Our host, Kurtis Baker is joined by Rob Church, Ken Damato, and Sandy Quirinale of DoughMain Foundation! Find out about financial literacy in education!


00:00 Announcer: You’re listening to a podcast of Master Your Finances with me, Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional, Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM on




00:09 Announcer: You are listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker originally aired, November 1st, 2015. Tune in next week, June 10th, for an all-new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc and


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00:43 Announcer: Planning your financial future doesn’t have to be overwhelming, 107.7 The Bronc presents Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment. Over the next hour, Kurt and his expert team of financial guests will help to decipher financial terms, navigate market trends, interpret federal and state regulations, and more, so you can make smart decisions with your money to increase your personal wealth. Phone lines are open. If you have a question about personal or small business financial planning, call Kurt Baker now at 877-900-1077. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment, focusing on personal, financial and small business planning. For more information about all of Certified Wealth Management and Investment services online, it’s


01:34 Kurt Baker: Hi, welcome back, you’re listening to 107.7… Financial views and information provided by Master Your Finances… 107.7 The Bronc, live from Killarney’s Publick House studios. You’re listening to Master Your Finances, presented by Certified Wealth Management and Investment. I am Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional. I’ll be hosting your show today. I’m located right here in Princeton, New Jersey. I can be reached through our website which is, or you can call me directly at 609-716-4700. Last week we had on Dr. Christopher Rodriguez, the director of New Jersey Office of Homeland Security. If you missed that, you can go to our podcast at, and you can listen to that and other podcasts, including this one, at your convenience, anytime you like.


02:18 Kurt Baker: This week, we’re very pleased to have with us, DoughMain Foundation, which is the… Sandy Quirinale is the executive director, as well as Rob Church, the Director of Engagement, and Kenneth Damato, trustee. And we’re gonna talk about standards in financial literacy and education, and we’re gonna go through that and much, much more here in the next hour. There’s a very long list of interesting information, which is including the background, the history, some of the different school programs that are out there, as well as how everybody got into this and why they’re so passionate about helping with the student education. So let’s start with you, Sandy, you’re the executive director here. So how did DoughMain get started? And why did you guys get involved in this mission of educating our youth about financial affairs, and so forth?


03:11 Sandy Quirinale: Well, thank you, Kurt. I’m gonna pass it on to Ken Damato because Ken is our board chair and Ken has been here since the beginning, and I think he’ll have a better perspective in terms of how DoughMain Education Foundation began. So with that, Ken.


03:24 Ken Damato: Thanks Sandy. Prior to the financial crisis, there wasn’t one state in the US that required any school to teach about money. And today, there are now 35 states that have adopted some form of financial education needed to graduate high school. What the DoughMain Education Foundation has been focusing on since 2012, is creating age-relevant materials to be used in the high school with teachers, that meet the required credit hours to graduate high school. And we’ll go into more details about the program as we go on.


04:00 Kurt Baker: What it sounds like happened is that there… People became aware of the fact that a lot of the… I guess, a lot of people in the country are not educated in financial affairs. Basic finances, right?


04:09 Ken Damato: As basic as they come.


04:10 Kurt Baker: Yeah, ’cause I recall a few years ago, even the president come out saying that, “I want everybody in the country to have a financial planner.” And to me that was kind of a response to… I don’t think as a country, that we have enough education, and just the basics of planning and the basics of finances, and how we manage a budget. Some really simple things that those of us in the industry kinda take for granted sometimes. That there’s a large segment of the population that’s really under-served, that doesn’t ever touch these issues and doesn’t realize that they should be touching these issues because sometimes people feel like, “Well, if I had better parents or I had a better job or had a better this, I’d be better off financially.” When the facts really support kind of a different perspective. If I understood finances better, and I worked within my budget better, and I understood how I can save money, and I can do things and make better decisions, then I will be better off. It’s a little bit counter-intuitive to some people, but it’s actually the reality of it, correct?


05:02 Ken Damato: Absolutely.


05:03 Kurt Baker: That’s how they work.


05:04 Ken Damato: People have very, very short memories. It was seven, almost eight years ago now, that this country was on the verge of collapse, financially. [chuckle] And it would have been worse than the Great Depression had the government not stepped in to do some of the things that were done at that time. Shortly after it happened, President Bush created a Financial Literacy Council with some of the most senior people in the financial services space, to basically commission a team to put together to look to see how we could work with the Department of Education to then promote financial education programs to the states. And under President Obama, that has continued. There still is a Financial Literacy Council that meets three times a year in DC.


05:49 Kurt Baker: So once they created the Financial Literacy Council, what were kinda the next steps? What was kinda their mission or their first objective when they created this council?


05:56 Ken Damato: Well, again, to get the states to adopt, so New Jersey…


06:00 Kurt Baker: So they come up with standards, is that what they did? They come up with some type of basic standards on things we think people should know.


06:04 Sandy Quirinale: National standards, the state national standards.


06:06 Kurt Baker: Okay, okay.


06:07 Sandy Quirinale: Yup.


06:08 Ken Damato: So the national standards were set by the Department of Education and then encouraged each state to adopt standards. Now, when they adopt the standards, there’s a variety of ways that they could do it. 29 of the 35 states have adopted very similar standards in their given states. In 2010 was when New Jersey adopted the financial literacy requirements. So what that means is the Department of Education agrees that they are gonna teach about money, financial skills in New Jersey, and then they basically set the information out to the 582 school districts, just public school systems, and then the school systems have to figure it out on their own.


06:51 Sandy Quirinale: And they must take a course in order to graduate now in New Jersey.


06:54 Kurt Baker: Okay, so there’s some kind of basic course that they have to take, so it’s part of the curriculum requirement, correct? Is that my understanding?


07:00 Ken Damato: Yes.


07:00 Kurt Baker: Okay, but that’s… It sounds like it’s only public schools are required to do that at this point?


07:02 Ken Damato: Well, only public schools are required to do anything in the country.


07:05 Kurt Baker: Right.


07:05 Sandy Quirinale: Yeah.




07:06 Kurt Baker: That’s Right.


07:06 Sandy Quirinale: Right.


07:07 Kurt Baker: That’s true. Okay, so really this is on public side, but hopefully the private schools are kind of following ’cause I think they typically listen.


07:13 Sandy Quirinale: No, they do allow for substitutions now. You can take a course in economics instead of personal finance, but of course, economics is very different than basic financial skills such as saving, budgeting, income careers, things along those lines. So I would like to see it so that we have more stringent requirements around taking personal finance in itself.


07:33 Kurt Baker: Right. Right. So we’re taking personal finance. So, what types of… Can you tell us a little bit about what the students might be learning that maybe they didn’t know before as far as what the goals are or the standards, I should say?


07:42 Ken Damato: Well, before we do that, maybe just a little bit… It’ll be helpful to you and all the listeners to understand, so what’s happened since 2010? 2009 was when states started to adopt financial literacy requirements. 2015, there’s now 35 states that have some form of financial education that’s required to graduate high school. 17 of those 35 need 2.5 credit hours or the equivalent of 60 hours of financial education exposure in high school to graduate. And you could take that in the classroom, you could do it online as an elective, but it’s required to graduate.


08:20 Kurt Baker: Okay. So how did that affect the school ’cause I know schools are… Our non-profit deals with schools and it’s like, we don’t have any time to do anything, right? So how is a school fitting in 60 hours, what happened exactly?


08:31 Rob Church: Well, you know, the interesting thing is, and as an educator, as somebody… By the way, I got my teaching certification here at Rider and my administrative masters. There’s not a course I can take as an educator, that teaches me how to teach Personal Financial Literacy. So 80% of the teachers in the nation report that they don’t feel comfortable in teaching this topic to students within the classroom. So as an educator, the school would come to me and say, “Okay, now you have to teach this course.” And I’ve got to scratch, I’ve gotta look, I’ve gotta try to find where I can get the information to teach to the students, and on top of that, I’m not comfortable teaching it myself as an educator. So that’s one of the big issues in dealing with personal financial literacy education within our public schools as well, is teachers not being comfortable with the topic area and not being knowledgeable about the topic area. And there’s really no place to go to learn about it right now as it exists.


09:35 Kurt Baker: Okay Rob. So now I’m all into this. So the state has adopted these new standards and now the teachers are probably reacting just the way you said, “Well how do I do this?” So what are some of the things that these 35 states who have adopted the standards, what are some of the strategies to get the teachers educated so they can in turn educate students? So what types of things are happening now that would help to implement it?


09:55 Rob Church: Well, I think that varies from state to state, and from district to district. In New Jersey, each school district decides how they’re going to present this information or meet this need based upon the standards that are out there, and it varies. And what’s happening is, as things are being put together to try to meet the standards, but then on top of that, there’s no regulation or oversight to see that they’re actually being met in the way that they were put forth by the state, by the Federal Government.


10:26 Sandy Quirinale: So the teachers are really scrambling to pull resources together so they’re not necessarily cohesive. There’s not really an assessment component so they’re having to pull and there aren’t a lot of resources like there are for other topics. There are just not a lot of personal financial textbooks out there that they can turn to. So they’re ending up creating their own work and testing it basically, unfortunately on the students, and we just don’t know… They don’t know the level of effectiveness.


10:52 Kurt Baker: Well that’s interesting. I’m pulling from my non profit experience for a minute, because I know when we go to schools, the big thing is it has to be like evidence-based, it has to be proven, it has to be…


11:00 Sandy Quirinale: Right.


11:01 Kurt Baker: It’s very difficult to bring programs in with anecdotal information saying, “I think this works. I think it’s a good idea. Yeah, it makes sense.” But don’t you have to kinda back it up somehow by tracking? “Hey, we got results out of this.”


11:11 Sandy Quirinale: Well, I think it’s so new and teachers are being told, and this is from having worked with a bunch of teachers here at DoughMain Education Foundation, who have taught it. They were told by their districts, “Hey, guess what? You’re a Social Studies teacher and three months from now, you’re teaching a course in Personal Finance ’cause it’s mandated.” So they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I have to try to go find the resources.” But they don’t have time to test in the school districts. I’m sure, want to put together a comprehensive evidence-based program but they just don’t have the resources. So, that’s really where we’re coming in as we’re trying to provide. We are providing a comprehensive program for the teachers that’s effective for the students.


11:49 Kurt Baker: Okay, you’re basically coming and help them feel like, since it’s so new, they don’t really have this track record yet. ‘Cause I know in evidence-based takes six, seven, eight years to kinda do all that process.


11:57 Sandy Quirinale: Right.


11:57 Kurt Baker: So “Here’s the mandate, here’s what you gotta do.” You’re like, “Okay. We’re just gonna do the best we can based on the knowledge we have outside of the school system.” Right?


12:04 Sandy Quirinale: Right, right.


12:04 Kurt Baker: But there is information out there, it’s just not necessarily in the format that the schools are like, “We can prove it works in the school maybe we can prove it works somewhere else.” You can…


12:13 Sandy Quirinale: Right, and there’s just not a lot of information if you just look at the assessment component, which is really important obviously to measure student progress, student learning, student growth. There is not a lot, there are not a lot of resources out there that have assessments on personal finance, so they end up creating their own. In our case, we hired psychometricians to develop our assessment component. So it’s very rigorous, but also proven like you would for the SAT, that kind of thing.


12:39 Kurt Baker: Alright, what’s a a psychomute… What’d you say, psycho…


12:41 Sandy Quirinale: Psychometrician.


12:42 Kurt Baker: Metrician.


12:42 Sandy Quirinale: I don’t really know, other than…


12:43 Kurt Baker: A psychometrician. That’s a, that’s a…


12:44 Rob Church: Say it three times fast.




12:46 Sandy Quirinale: Say it three times fast. Basically that’s somebody who’s an expert in test development.


12:51 Kurt Baker: Oh, okay.


12:51 Sandy Quirinale: So that there’s no bias-ness in test questions, that the test questions are spread across the content equally, they’re clear for the students so there’s no misinterpretation, that kind of thing. So, like you would an SAT. Nobody wants to argue over the quality of the test questions, you just wanna know what you’re testing, and is it…


13:11 Kurt Baker: So it’s basically an expert in creating the test itself.


13:13 Sandy Quirinale: Exactly.


13:14 Kurt Baker: Gotcha.


13:14 Sandy Quirinale: So that’s just one aspect of where we’ve come in to help.


13:17 Kurt Baker: Okay, alright. So we have to make sure the test is appropriate to the material that we’re teaching and it’s fair to the populace that we’re testing, right?


13:24 Sandy Quirinale: Exactly. And we test in various manners. We test objectively, like a multiple choice, true or false, but we also do blogging, which is a key component. Asking questions that drive critical thinking. So, through the form of journaling and that kind of thing.


13:40 Kurt Baker: Excellent. So, I appreciate everybody. We kinda got through the basics of how we came to creating the foundation, and why it’s so important for us to teach financial literacy in the United States, after the financial crisis of ’09. And when we come back here in a minute, we’re gonna discuss a little bit more about some of the programs that are out there, what are being developed and are being implemented through the schools right now.


13:58 Announcer: You are listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker. Originally aired, November 1st, 2015. Tune in next week, June 10th, for an all new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker. Exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc and




14:16 Announcer: We are talking finances, so you can make informed choices for a brighter financial future. Now back to Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker. A certified financial planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment, on 107.7 The Bronc and




14:34 Kurt Baker: Hi, welcome back. You’re listening to Master Your Finances. I’m Kurt Baker, certified financial planner. I’m here with several people from DoughMain, a foundation, Sandy, as well as Rob and Ken. And we’re talking about the needs that have shown themselves after the financial crisis in ’09, and how we created Financial Literacy Council on a federal level, and how that’s the mandate is really to try to encourage states to implement strategies to educate our youth about good financial practices and so forth. And through those experiences, they started to develop some programs or has tried to develop some concepts and things to implement, and found out that a lot of the teachers are not necessarily comfortable with it, but we need to start to get them prepared so they can teach the kids the necessary skills when you get older. Because if you develop good financial skills at a young age, that’s gonna benefit you throughout your life and it’s very critical that we do that. So as far as learning about finances, what is the age that they recommend, or what have you guys found is the age that we should try formally teaching our kids about finance? I know my parents, you get an allowance when you’re little and I think I’ve been learning financial education since I was probably pre-school. [15:41] ____ It feels like at least. [chuckle] So as far as the mandate goes and as far as teaching formal finance education, what do you think? Rob, what do you think about that?


15:50 Rob Church: Well, I think there are two answers to that question. And the one answer is, what is the best age to start learning about personal finance? And then, the other question… The other answer is what we’re doing and why? And really, in learning anything, the younger that you can start to develop the knowledge, the practices and the skill sets for that specific area, the better you are. So the elementary level is probably one of the better levels to start introducing topics. We started developing at the middle school level, and now we’re focused at the high school level with our programs.


16:32 Sandy Quirinale: Well, and in terms of at the national level, the standards have requirements for fourth grade, at the end by fourth grade, by eighth grade and by 12th grade you need to know certain aspects of personal finance, things about income careers, taxes, budgeting, insurance, all of those things. So even at the end of fourth grade, there are national expectations set forth.


16:57 Kurt Baker: Okay, so you have kind of three-bench marks, I guess. Fourth grade, eighth grade, 12th grade. As far as the council goes, starts on a federal level, right?


17:02 Sandy Quirinale: That’s correct. Right.


17:03 Rob Church: Right.


17:04 Kurt Baker: So you’re kind of backing into that I guess. It sound like you started first at the middle school, and now you’re really teaching high schools as well, but it sounds like we really should get down a little lower even. Elementary school as well.


17:13 Sandy Quirinale: As young as possible.


17:14 Kurt Baker: And teach age appropriate, so they learn a little bit better about what is an income and taxes. I don’t think I was discussed taxes in elementary school, necessarily. But that’s an important component of our education, our financial education, understand how that impacts us in various ways. And budgeting, I think is really critical. That’s something I learned at a very young age. I got my little allowance, I think it was 25 cents, and then I had to budget my 25 cents if I wanna save up to buy something that was two dollars. I knew it was gonna take me four weeks before I could get that money together. That’s really basic, but I can see how you would start to do that. And I know that as far as learning goes, I think there’s a number of ways that we learn. So what are some of the methods and what are some of the ways we can actually teach the kids and what are some of the learning methods that are best received by our students when they’re younger? Or any age, for that matter?


17:57 Rob Church: I think, from an education standpoint, teachers are asked to plan based upon diverse learning styles, and there’s seven of those styles. Visual, which is spatial, you prefer using pictures. Oral, which is auditory, musical, sound, music, verbal. Linguistic, you prefer using words, speech, writing. Physical, and that’s hands-on activities. Logical, mathematical skills using reasoning systems. Social interaction between students and educators. As well as, there are those students that learn independently, that their learning is more solitary. So when you’re planning for learning and sustained learning in education, you want to try to teach to and have a student learn under the style that they’re best able to do that. So you have to plan for all of that within your instruction. And then you have to look at how that’s retained, and the way that a student learns best and they’re most engaged mentally within what they’re doing. They have a higher order of thought or critical thinking skills, you hear about. At Rider, we call that metacognition, and that’s higher level thinking and that helps lock in what they’re learning through all those different learning styles and through practice and application of what they’re doing.


19:28 Sandy Quirinale: So what we’ve done at DoughMain Education Foundation is try to address all components that Rob just went through. So we have, for instance, a video component to introduce the units. Not only is that helpful for the teachers, who are very unfamiliar with teaching these topics, but also for the student who’s a visual learner. And this is all very integrated, so it’s not just a video as a separate thing, it’s directly integrated with the rest of the curriculum. So we’ve got a whole hands-on game. We purposely kept it hands-on game, we could’ve turned it into yet another app and maybe someday we will. But right now, it’s a hands-on game that’s directly aligned to these standards that they need to know, that reinforces at the end of every lesson, what they’ve learned and challenges them with real life examples. And they laugh because it’s funny. We’ve built in a lot of humor to our student background information into the questions in the game.


20:25 Sandy Quirinale: So oftentimes the kids’ll end up laughing, but then therefore, they’re remembering. And we have them do, for instance, blogging or journaling after they’ve played the game so they reflect on what decision did Kurt make versus Rob versus Ken in the game, and should they have made a different decision in hindsight and what are the impacts of that. So we’ve got all different components and it’s very social in terms of a lot of activities that are group activities. But we also have some independent ones, of course, as well.


21:00 Kurt Baker: Oh, so it sounds like, when you put the plan together, you actually took all of these different learning styles into consideration when you did it, which is good. So no matter what type of learner you are, you’re gonna touch on some of that. And I know, I’ve always heard that it’s good to learn things from different styles, right?


21:15 Sandy Quirinale: Right.


21:15 Kurt Baker: So we learn better if we watch something and then maybe we hear it and then maybe we actually do something physically with our hands. I know taking notes in class, I remember that was an early one, is you listen to the teacher and you take the notes and you watch it on the board. So you really got three methods at once.


21:28 Sandy Quirinale: Right. It’s much more effective that way, ’cause you tend to, I guess, daydream a little bit [chuckle] if the teacher’s just…




21:34 Sandy Quirinale: I did it myself, I must admit now.


21:36 Kurt Baker: I think we all have.


21:36 Kurt Baker: But, yeah.




21:37 Announcer: But if they… So this way you’re challenged in all different ways. So, you’re listening, you’re playing, you’re watching, you’re doing. So all different means of reinforcing.


21:49 Ken Damato: And we wanna make sure that you understand, and people listening understand, there’s not one… Our program doesn’t solve for everything, but it takes into account all the things that you need to take into account. And the reason why you asked before about high school versus up to fourth grade, the reason why all of our energy… We started in the middle school just because we had resources that were focused there. We went to the high school because that is where the most critical need is at this time. To graduate high school, to meet those 2.5 credit hours, at least here in New Jersey, the teachers needed, the assistants needed the help, that’s where we’re putting our energy on our program.


22:26 Kurt Baker: So that’s a little bit requirement-based now, obviously. It sounds to me like the earlier you learn the better, but of course, it sounds like from a standards standpoint, it sounds like the standard is really heavy on this high school end.


22:36 Ken Damato: And maybe when we get back after break we could talk a little bit more about just that piece before we go into the next one.


22:40 Kurt Baker: Absolutely, yeah. So we’ve been kinda going through the basics of why we ended up having a Literacy Council at the federal level and how some of the strategies have been really kind of encouraged to be adopted by, in this case, we got 35 states who’ve adopted financial literacy standards on a state level. And now it’s really down to the level where teachers and the students are starting to actually do the learning and how we’re using the seven different learning methods in order to optimize the way that the students are learning. So we’re gonna discuss that and more when we come back after the break in just a couple minutes. Thank you.


23:11 Announcer: You are listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker. Originally aired, November 1st, 2015. Tune in next week, June 10th, for an all-new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc and




23:30 Announcer: We’re talking finances, so you can make informed choices for a brighter financial future. Now back to Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment, on 107.7 The Bronc and




23:47 Kurt Baker: Hi. Welcome back. You’re listening to Master Your Finances. I am Kurt Baker, here with Sandy Quirinale, as well as Rob Church and Kenneth Damato, and we’re talking about the importance of youth, of financial literacy and the fact that on a federal level you’ve created the Financial Literacy Council and we’re going through the process of getting a lot of the states involved, 35 at this point, and now we’re starting to roll out the program and you started off on the middle school level, and now we’re moving to the high school level because you have a mandate for up to 60 hours of teaching of financial literacy on that level. And of course, that’s a pretty big… That’s a lot of time in a high school, frankly, and I know that… So you have to get everybody kind of involved in this, so how are we doing things like helping the teachers and helping the students and helping everybody kind of get through this process of adopting this 60 hours? What’s the plan or how are we implementing that?


24:39 Sandy Quirinale: Well, we started by bringing on teachers who have had experience teaching personal finance. So several years ago, they were told themselves, “Hey, you have to teach this course.” And they might have been a Social Studies teacher or a Math teacher or somebody who didn’t necessarily have any background anymore so than the typical adult did. And so they went through the process of being… Scrambling to pull together the resources, they knew what it was like and they knew what has been working well in the classes. So we brought together, just even recently, this summer, a dozen teachers who have had experience at the high school level teaching personal finance to extract best practices, and knowing what works best with the students, they develop the components of the program to address all of the different learning styles and requirements for the standards.


25:36 Kurt Baker: So you had the teachers involved in kinda the structure and the building of the process and the building of the actual components that went into these things, right?


25:43 Sandy Quirinale: The teachers were more than involved…


25:44 Kurt Baker: So they had a lot of feedback?


25:45 Sandy Quirinale: They actually…


25:47 Ken Damato: The architects.


25:47 Sandy Quirinale: They were the architects of the program.


25:48 Kurt Baker: Okay.


25:49 Sandy Quirinale: Which is very unusual. Most textbooks and such are done by people who are professional curriculum writers. These were teachers who had experience in this area. And then we did bring in industry experts to vet the program and make sure, but we also throughout the process, had students coming in and giving feedback on how the game was played. Was it engaging to them? Because so much of what we’re trying to do is make sure it’s engaging to the students so it’s effective and why we want it to be effective is so it changes their behavior over time. That’s the ultimate goal.


26:23 Kurt Baker: Well, I think that’s great, ’cause you have the teachers that are experienced at teaching students obviously, you had experts come in to fill in the blanks and make sure they’re leading up to standards, so to speak.


26:31 Sandy Quirinale: That’s right.


26:31 Kurt Baker: And then you had the student feedback, which I think is critical because a lot of times things get rolled out, as I remember when I was a kid, you’re like, “This doesn’t make any sense.” But it’s good to get feedback while the development process is going so you really feel like you’ve got a nice, effective program and you’re using the seven different learning styles. So it sounds like you’ve covered a lot of ground, a lot of research went into how you’ve actually developed this. Even though it’s relatively new, because I know that whenever you roll out something, or at least, I know when I’m trying to teach something to somebody new, part of that is I have to learn it myself, right?


26:57 Sandy Quirinale: Right.


26:58 Kurt Baker: Because even though I might have the understanding about a certain subject matter, it’s a little higher level when you’re teaching it to somebody else, especially students, you really have to make sure you’ve got the whole bandwidth covered.


27:07 Sandy Quirinale: Well, and although we have great confidence in what we’ve developed, we’ve institutionalized a continuous improvement process for this program, because it’s not gonna be perfect the first time. So we’re measuring through the assessment component but also through qualitative survey information, like asking the students themselves, is this engaging? What did you think of the game? Asking the teachers who are using our program for feedback. And we’re doing this on a continuous process so we can continuously get better and better, and also keep our curriculum up to date, because things in the financial world change, as you know.


27:47 Kurt Baker: Of course. Is this like a post… After they’ve learned in the class, you kind of ask them what they thought of the class? Or just before and after, like, “Did you know A, B and C and now do you know A, B and C at the end of the program?”


27:56 Sandy Quirinale: It’s both.


27:58 Kurt Baker: Both, okay.


27:58 Sandy Quirinale: Because we have a pre and post assessment component.


28:00 Kurt Baker: Okay, pre and post. Okay.


28:01 Sandy Quirinale: So of course, we’re gonna take them in. And most students are not gonna fare too well on the pre, because they’ve haven’t, most students have not been exposed to some of these basic topics, such as credit, saving and investing, insurance, banking. And then there’ll be a post, but also throughout the course there are unit level assessments, so there’s plenty of assessments with study guides and such, but we’re also getting qualitative feedback right now as we’re just rolling out a smaller number of schools and we’re going to get more and more as we start to get this feedback and incorporate the feedback and also get funding to support us getting out, because we’re providing this at no charge to school districts.


28:44 Kurt Baker: Oh, yeah, so funding’s definitely important if you’re trying to roll this out on a big level. So right now you’re on kind of on a test or kind of a pilot phase, right?


28:49 Sandy Quirinale: We’re on our final pilot phase and then after this fall, we’re piloting in four classrooms in the Woodbridge, New Jersey School District. It’s a fairly diverse school district. So after that we will roll out next year to… And that will no longer be a pilot. We’ll implement our suggestions, it’ll be our Gen Three version at that point. The only thing that’ll come between rolling out to more districts is funding, because our model is, we’re very dependent on philanthropic support of those who are interested in this area.


29:26 Kurt Baker: Excellent. Oh yeah, so that’s great. So basically, you’ve got a nice program that’s been tested, it’s been… You get nice feedback, so now you’re gonna roll it out and get more schools involved. This is great. So now more schools would be able to implement that. So they have this mandate now, right? So there must be a phase-in period, I guess, that’s going on in New Jersey. Is that’s what’s happening? ‘Cause if they’ve the 60 hours, how’s all this fitting together now? How they get this done?


29:47 Ken Damato: It’s fully implemented now in New Jersey, so anyone that’s graduating this coming spring has to have the 60 hours worth of credit hours that should…


30:00 Kurt Baker: There’s a lot of schools looking for a solution, it sounds like.


30:02 Ken Damato: Well, again…


30:02 Kurt Baker: Probably, right? [chuckle]


30:03 Ken Damato: Well, yes. But again, right now, every single school in New Jersey is doing something that touches those standards.


30:09 Kurt Baker: Okay.


30:10 Ken Damato: It doesn’t mean that it’s effective. It means they believe they’re doing what they can, within their purview, with their resources, with the quality of the teachers with the experience. And they’re checking the box that that is being done. There are only seven states in the country that have pre-imposed test assessments. New Jersey is not one of them. We are gonna to work with the Department of Education and some legislators to try to help get this to be one of the states where they do it as well. And our goal is, we are a Princeton based 501 [c] [3] public charity, we plan on always distributing our content over time free of charge into the school districts and we are gonna look to philanthropic individuals, financial institutions that give back to the communities on a regular basis, as well as foundations that give to education to support the multi-generation product development that we have. As well as some of our overhead, that’s associated with keeping the organization going, and we are a very low overhead operation.




31:13 Kurt Baker: Yeah. That’s good to hear. Not many non-profits have to do that, obviously.


31:15 Sandy Quirinale: Yes.




31:16 Kurt Baker: That’s one of the natures of being a non-profit. I fully understand that. So it sounds like you’re developing a really good product and you’re actually testing before and afterward. I know it’s a big deal when it’s going for grant and funding and stuff like that, so I wish you the best with that. So the program itself, you’re doing all the assessments, you’re doing, I guess, videos, blogging, you’re gaming, right? Is that right? And then do you have like a teacher to teacher component? Is that also part of this?


31:42 Rob Church: Absolutely. Sandy, you can go ahead and talk about that, but one thing I did wanted to bring forth because we talked a little bit before about the teachers and, one of the things we also did was, we made sure that the teachers that we were bringing in were representative across the spectrum of the schools within New Jersey. So we wanted to make sure that we had teachers who were coming from very diverse districts and had the experience teaching within those student populations as well. So one of the main focuses when we were developing curriculum over the summer also included planning for diversity, planning for urban students, planning for rural students, planning for suburban students. And that was really an important factor that we had the diversity amongst the educators to help bring this curriculum forward.


32:35 Kurt Baker: No, that’s important. I know that, yeah, every school district’s different. Obviously, each culture has a different way of teaching their children. They may or may not even focus… Some cultures focus on finances already a little bit. Other cultures, it may not be any real focus at all on basic finances. So you really have to kind of address that and everybody learns a little bit different on how they might do that. So we’ve kind of gone through the basics of why we created the organization, the mandate that’s out there now, how it’s being rolled out and the fact that it’s a relatively new mandate and how every school is trying to do something right now, but one thing that your non-profit is trying to do is actually really come up with a program that’s really kinda along the best practices, where you’re serving ahead of time, you’re monitoring it during the process, you’re seeing the results afterwards, so now you can actually track, improve while you’re implementing at the same time and you’re just finishing out with a pilot phase, so once you…


33:23 Ken Damato: Kurt, one more thing before we go to break. There are a lot of great organizations that have content and materials. Junior Achievement, Jumpstart, the Council for Economic Education. Plenty of content. We are content-rich, but we are total programmatic poor as a society, which means Junior Achievement has some of the best financial education learning in the country, but they don’t have anything, anything in their organization that touches all 60 hours worth of content that’s needed and how you teach it, how you assess it, how you get feedback, how you get the kids to engage, etcetera. And we believe that our program one day, either through partnerships with others, once we start to get scale, will make a much greater impact with maybe some of the partnerships than alone. But we just want to make sure that, understand that, when you said in the beginning about, there’s a lot of stuff out there. Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff out there, but nothing that we have found would be able to help teacher, Mr. Smith, Ms. Smith be able to go in and have all the materials in one place.


34:33 Kurt Baker: Well, yeah, the information has to be implemented properly. Other than those, we have to teach it, we have to get it across to the kids. And that’s one of the things I believe is what your foundation was created for was to try to turn that information into education and then find the results so that you can actually improve and modify and implement and track it as time goes on, so we’ll come back to that and more in just a few minutes, after the break. Thank you.


34:56 Announcer: You are listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, originally aired November 1st, 2015. Tune in next week, June 10th, for an all new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker. Exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc and




35:15 Announcer: We are talking finances so you can make informed choices for a brighter financial future. Now back to Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment, on 107.7 The Bronc and




35:32 Kurt Baker: Hi, welcome back. You’re listening to Master Your Finances. I’m Kurt Baker, here with Sandy, Rob, Ken with the DoughMain Education Foundation. We’ve been talking a little bit about the Financial Literacy Council, why it was developed and the fact we now have 35 states engaged in this and how programs are now being developed to satisfy the needs of financial literacy here in our country, regarding our youth, and the fact that they’ve been developing a program over the last several years, and it’s been going through pilot stages, and they’ve being doing a lot of research, as far as discussing with teachers, with students, getting feedback from students, bringing in experts in the field to try to assimilate all this information. While there is a lot of education, or financial education information out there, it’s not really in a format where it can be implemented in the school system, which is now essentially the mandate, now that New Jersey, specifically, has adopted that.


36:19 Kurt Baker: So, here I am, at school. I’m interested in this. I’m trying to do the best I can right now. I’m trying to… I’m meeting the mandate. I’m doing my 60 hours in high school. If I were to bring in a program like this, that’s kinda gone through a more rigorous process of… The process of actually putting a program together that’s implementing and getting feedback from the students, and so forth. What exactly happens? What have you found in your research that works well, and how is the program set up right now? What’s gonna happen?


36:41 Sandy Quirinale: Well, the great thing about this program is that it’s focused, and it’s turnkey for the teacher. So, basically, the teachers are going to get our eight units, which are incoming careers, pay, benefit and deductions, taxes, budgeting, banking, saving and investing, credit and insurance, all of those topics. They’re going to get… It’s about a thousand pages of curriculum, but this is prioritized for them. So, in addition to that, they get… The teachers have full PowerPoints with talking points, so they literally don’t have to do anything to manage the class. But it’s not that they’re just doing a PowerPoint up there. There are activities that are prioritized, and then extension activities. So, the PowerPoint is simply there to help the teacher introduce the activity, of which the group will go on. So, if it’s incoming careers, maybe the activity is, “Go research what career avenues you might be interested in, come back and then blog about that, reflect on that report out to the class, and then go back that night and blog about that activity, or write in a journal.” And then that, we provide the teacher, even with a rubric to measure the aspect of that blog. How thoughtful was it, how well did the student reflect.


37:54 Sandy Quirinale: But, in a typical day, the student would come in, when the class starts they get the full pre-assessment to see where the students are, what’s the baseline. Then there’s a video to introduce the topic, which is engaging. We had a lot of student input in terms of the characters in the video. There’s five characters, and in each video, one of the characters has an issue around taxes. It’s their first job and they got their paycheck, they were gonna treat everyone to lunch, and they’re like, “Who’s this Mr. Grossen, what’s he doing taking money out of my paycheck?” kind of thing. [chuckle] So, it’s kinda funny, there’s a student background. The students can take home, again, three pages, something that they actually would read. It’s not textbook, it’s humorous, and we designed it so they can relate to the situation, whether it’s about the prom, or based on the subject. But the teacher goes through, there’s these activities, there’s extension activities if you want to reinforce higher level thinking, or for those situations where the students in the classroom aren’t just quite grasping it.


38:57 Kurt Baker: So, there’s assessments for every unit with study guides that go at the lesson level, which is even more detailed. And the teacher gets all the things that are needed, like the essential questions, the student objectives. The students get things like vocabulary to study, ’cause of course, there’s all those sorts of things. And the teachers and the students get resources, links for looking up a career choice, or that investment calculator, or whatever it is. So, there’s… The game is the final key component. The game is played at, pretty much… It could be played at any time, but it typically could be played at the end of every week, and it reinforces all of the content they’re learning. It’s a hands-on game, you play it in groups of four to five, and you reflect on the game. And again, I mentioned earlier, it’s fun, and yet, it’s challenging them with real-life scenarios that they’ve just learned about, and how they might apply in that scenario, whether it’s choices around insurance, or questions on taxation, etcetera.


39:57 Kurt Baker: So, you’re bringing real-life situations into the classroom, basically. So, you’re doing real-life scenarios. This reminds me a lot of financial planning or continuing education things.


40:05 Sandy Quirinale: Exactly.


40:05 Kurt Baker: ‘Cause I’ve developed a scenario, but you’re doing it in multifaceted ways, through the video, through the hands-on, through different learning metrics that might be about [40:15] ____. And you’re giving teachers a little bit of flexibility, it sounds like. You’re giving them the information, but they can kind of work within that, correct?


40:20 Sandy Quirinale: They have a lot of flexibility, yeah.


40:21 Kurt Baker: Is that my understanding, is the way this works?


40:24 Rob Church: Yeah, absolutely. I can’t believe we haven’t said it yet. You’re getting all this through what is called the Fit Kit, which is our youth financial literacy program for high school students. And so, when you hear that name, Fit Kit, out there, this is what you’re getting. It’s a quick, short name, but you’re getting all of this content in there, and all of these opportunities for learning.


40:48 Sandy Quirinale: And the Fit Kit is for financial fitness, so.


40:51 Kurt Baker: Ah, financial fitness. Okay.


40:52 Sandy Quirinale: Yes, financial fitness. But, the concept of the game I just went through out there, things happen. And that’s why the game is played, because it’s challenging. You can do all the planning and teaching them, and you know in life things happen. That fender-bender happens and you have to… Things happen, and so, the game is trying to help apply what they’re learning to real life scenarios, so they’re better prepared when they graduate.


41:15 Kurt Baker: So, it’s going through some of the real basics things. We talked a little bit about budgeting earlier, which I think it’s what a lot of people think, but you’re also going into things like insurance, which I don’t think most kids really have a lot of sense of what that really is, or why does somebody buy insurance.


41:26 Sandy Quirinale: Right.


41:26 Kurt Baker: I don’t understand this. So why would I give somebody my money, and maybe some… But things do happen. When you’re a kid, you think you’re indestructible, so to speak. “What do I need insurance for?”


41:32 Sandy Quirinale: Right, absolutely.


41:33 Kurt Baker: So, that’s kind of a new concept, I think. I know it would have been to me, if somebody brought that to me.


41:36 Sandy Quirinale: Right, and insurance varies based on your age, basically. When you’re young, you might want car insurance, and as you get older, you get a house, you need to know about house insurance. So, we try to touch upon all of those things, but do it in a way that relates to them. So, the car insurance thing is pretty important to them.


41:53 Kurt Baker: Right. Especially when you’re in high school and you wanna get your job. So, absolutely. So, yeah. You kind of walk them through the different areas that are important. And so you got through the insurance. I think you talked a little bit about investing, right? So I think…


42:05 Sandy Quirinale: Saving and investing.


42:06 Kurt Baker: Saving and investing is important.


42:06 Sandy Quirinale: Right, absolutely.


42:08 Kurt Baker: We talked about basic budgeting.


42:10 Sandy Quirinale: Credit.


42:10 Kurt Baker: Some of the basic vocabulary. Credit, I think, is a key. I don’t think a lot of young people really understand credit, or understand what that really means, and how it’s used in our society. Even if you’re a cash person you still need credit for certain things, so you wanna have at least a credit profile.


42:24 Sandy Quirinale: Absolutely.


42:25 Kurt Baker: Even if you don’t intend to really heavily use it, you still at least wanna have some type of credit, because that’s an important part of just the way our society works. And the fact that you’ve got a nice, a very broad curriculum set up, which is, you said it’s a thousand pages of information and it’s got many things. I know the PowerPoint you mentioned, which kind of a guide, you got different scenarios in there, and then you’ve got the videos, you’ve got things that the kids take home and they can kinda do things on their own, like what career do you wanna be involved in, and get involved in that. So, that brings in their own interests into it. They come back, they have discussions, and then you… Kind of a game, they kinda put it all together, and you’re trying to test these different things that they’re thinking about doing, which I think is exceptional. So, I think the concept is great and, obviously, you’ve already talked to different teachers and different students and you’ve gotten their feedback, which I think is key to how this whole thing works.


43:13 Kurt Baker: So, I really wanna thank you guys for coming on today. We had on today, Sandy Quirinale, as well as Rob Church and Kenneth Damato of the DoughMain Education Foundation. We went through a number of things, including why we created the Financial Literacy Council on a federal level after the crisis of ’09 and ’08, that we realized that in our society there isn’t really enough financial literacy education out there. And then from that, they were encouraging the states to adopt the standards to bring to their school system in order to get our youth to really better understand what is credit, what is financial literacy, and things like insurance and investing, and so forth. So, we better understand what that really means and how it impacts our lives, because developing good habits and good knowledge early on in life will really help minimize the negative that could possibly happen if you don’t manage your finances well.


44:06 Kurt Baker: And then you kinda moved through the fact that we had to implement this curriculum, and there’s a lot of information out there, but it’s not really in a method that is easily transferred into the classroom, and that’s kind of where your foundations grew up. And it really started to put together the experts, as well as the teachers that are in the system, and you got feedback from the students as well. And you did some testing and feedback as far as that goes, and then you came up with your Fit Kit program, which is kind of one of the first real programs out there that’s got some evidence behind it. And it’s a constant and maturing process, as you stated. And the idea is to continue to improve the program over time and to make it better as time goes on. So, it’s really key that we go ahead and teach our kids about that.


44:47 Ken Damato: And Kurt, just a 30-second because we’re at the end… We’re at the end of the year right now and our entire organization had been bootstrapped for over two years, and the only folks that we’re raising money to pay were the teachers for the curriculum. So, 80% of philanthropic giving happens in November and December, and we are 100% funded by individuals and private foundations. We’re here based in Princeton, New Jersey. And if anyone is interested in giving, you could go to, and that’s DoughMain spelled D O U G H, like pizza dough, M A I N education, or they can text to donate by texting 41444, and we appreciate the time today.


45:37 Kurt Baker: Okay, great. Yeah. And so, as you just mentioned, we’re gonna put up the website as far as where you can support the organization if you wish. If you wanna call me, you can reach me directly at 609-716-4700, or the website here is, or you can learn about this program and others on our Facebook page, which is, or you can subscribe to this podcast and others at Remember, you too can master your finances and reach your financial peace of mind.


46:07 Announcer: You are listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, originally aired November 1st, 2015. Tune in next week, June 10th, for an all new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc, and




46:26 Announcer: You’ve been listening to Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment, exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc and Tune in every Sunday morning at 9:00 to learn everything you need to know about personal and small business financial planning, including investing, estate planning, insurance, employee benefits, 401K, and 403B plans, retirement planning and more. Missed an episode? Go to to download and listen to previous shows. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment, focusing on personal financial and small business planning. For more information on all of Certified Wealth Management and Investment Services online, it’s


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