Students wise up on investing thanks to Ariel

Mellody Hobson
Mellody Hobson had tears in her eyes.

Mellody Hobson brought her and Ariel Investments' quest for teaching financial literacy in schools to NAGDCA on Oct. 1.

As proof that such an education works, Ms. Hobson, Ariel president, discussed what students at the Ariel Community Academy in Chicago learn about investing, beginning in kindergarten.

In her keynote speech to the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators in San Diego, Ms. Hobson talked about a 9-year-old student at Ariel's school who didn't wear her uniform when the school choir performed holiday songs at Ariel Investments.

The teacher asked Ms. Hobson to explain to the girl why she should wear her uniform instead of the T-shirt she had on. But before she could do so, the student interrupted her: “This is an Old Navy T-shirt, and we own (stock in) Gap,” which owns Old Navy. “The stock isn't doing well,” the student said, explaining she is helping to support the company.

“I had tears in my eyes,” Ms. Hobson recalled. “They get it.”

She also said the Ariel Community Academy curriculum is being taught as a pilot program in three other schools this year. After that, Ariel Investments will make the curriculum available to any school that wants it.