Media literacy

Committees draft phantom bills requiring social media literacy courses in public schools


With no movement in the House and none for months in the Senate, the future looks bleak for bipartisan legislation requiring Florida public schools to teach social media literacy classes alongside other mandatory programs.

There are less than two weeks left until the last day of regular committee meetings in the 2022 legislative session. This leaves little avenue for the twin bills (SB 480 and HB 361) aimed at protecting Florida students from the dangers of social media to clean their respective rooms.

The bills would require local school boards to design social media literacy lesson plans, make related teaching materials available online and notify parents of their availability.

Lessons would have been mandatory, such as those on African-American history, civics, Holocaust history, and the effects of alcohol and narcotics, among others many other topics.

The legislation – which includes what would be the first legal definition of social media in Florida – would have resulted in additional costs for “school districts that do not already provide education on social media”, a Senate staff report said.

The Republican Senator from Zephyrhills Danny Burgesswho took the bill to the Senate, said the idea was to help children understand “the long-term risks inherent in essentially having the world at their fingertips.”

Tampa Democratic Representative Driskell Fence and Republican Representative from Jacksonville. Yarborough Clay introduced the House bill on October 10, three days before the proposal was introduced in the Senate.

Senate Democratic Leader Laurent Book of Plantation, Republican senator from Fort Myers. Ray RodriguesDemocratic representative from Miami Gardens. Christopher Benjamin and the Democratic representative from Delray Beach. Emily Slosberg-King co-sponsored the measures.

But only the upper house of the Legislative Assembly considered the legislation – and only once, on November 30, when the Senate Education Committee unanimously OK’d the bill after a brief discussion and shows of support from the Florida PTA, Florida Citizens Alliance and Defend Florida.

Republican Senator from Pensacola Doug Broxson has not yet added the SB 480 to the agenda of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Educationthe second of three committees to which the President of the Senate wilton simpson awarded the bill on October 21.

Republican Representative from Miami. Vance Aloupis never added HB 361 to the agenda of a panel he chairs, the House Early Learning and Elementary Education Subcommitteethe first of four committee assignments Speaker of the House Chris Sprows gave the invoice on November 5th.

Aloupis confirmed to Florida Politics that no additional meetings are scheduled for the subcommittee, although “everything could change.”

As the Tampa Bay Weather reported Thursday, more than half of the 45 bills assigned to the subcommittee have not been considered this session.

Aloupis said he thinks the issues HB 361 seeks to address are “extremely important,” but he declined to schedule a hearing because the bill in its current form lacks detail on what the lessons learned. literacy on social networks would imply.

Burgess said in November that he intentionally left the language of the bill loose to allow the Department of Education and school districts to refine lesson plans as they deemed necessary. He envisioned the lessons as being “embedded in appropriate classes instead of creating a whole new class with a whole new teacher who would have to be fully dedicated 100% of the time” to the subject.

“We know that (teachers are) pulled in 100 million directions,” he said.

Aloupis argued that the legislation is too vague.

“There’s so much to ask of school districts and what they’re required to deliver and create, so it’s just a matter of doing it in a thoughtful, non-binding way,” he said. declared. “But I think there’s a real appreciation in this chamber that there’s a need for this work.”

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