A few posts back we talked about a teacher who had begun an initiative with his class to be able to discern fake news from real news and the critical importance of this skill to ensuring a sound democracy. This initiative is becoming a movement among educators and legislators including programs in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Mexico and the state of Washington. Arizona, New York and Hawaii are expected to join the cause this year. These bills focus on media and in particular digital literacy. Many of the bills’ authors are using models from groups such as Media Literacy Now and the Digital Citizenship Institute . Opposition has been limited and mostly surrounding the possible costs to school funding of any additional mandates so many of the rules are framed as voluntary.
This movement comes at a time when there is increasing recognition that no matter what side of the aisle you may be on, it is necessary to try to ensure that our populace, especially young people who spend a substantial amount of time online, have discernment skills. This follows a recent study by Stanford University researchers which “warned that students from middle school to college were ill-equipped to use reason with online information.”
CGC believes that such efforts to make a better informed citizenry can and should be supported. “I don’t think it’s a partisan issue to appreciate the importance of good information and the teaching of tools for navigating the information environment,” said Hans Zeiger, a Republican state senator in Washington who co-sponsored a bill that passed in his state earlier this year. “There is such a thing as an objective source versus other kinds of sources, and that’s an appropriate thing for schools to be teaching.”
CGC will update as more information on this movement continues. Are you aware of any legislation in your community on this issue? Do you feel well equipped to speak to those who have the ability to sponsor this type of legislation? Do you feel you have the skills and information to be able to discern fact from fake and how to approach your child on this?