Media literacy

More states are embracing media literacy in schools


Following the 2016 presidential election and the growth in the amount and influence of “fake news” on the Internet, more and more states are considering or implementing measures to encourage or compel schools to teach media literacy.

Four states passed media literacy bills or laws in 2017, and a dozen more are home to coalitions of advocates pushing for such bills, according to Media Literacy Now, an advocacy group. .

Last fall, a Stanford University study found that many teens struggled to understand what was and wasn’t accurate or reliable online.

Since then, associations, companies, and educators have developed resources and given more attention to ongoing efforts to teach students to understand online information and think critically about what they encounter. Earlier this month, Media Literacy Now verified state legislative efforts to address this issue.

In 2017, Washington passed a law which serves as a model for other States. It encourages states to teach internet safety and digital citizenship as well as media literacy, and demands a policy model that includes a mix of sources and perspectives. (Education Week reported on media literacy efforts in Washington earlier this summer.) In Washington, there was a bipartisan effort understand how to teach media literacy. Proponents say media literacy classes teach students critical thinking skills and help them navigate the complex and changing world of online information.

Also in 2017, Connecticut passed the Media Literacy, Digital Citizenship, and Internet Safety Act, and Rhode Island and New Mexico also passed media literacy bills.

Six states have considered bills based on the Washington law, which Media Literacy Now says it uses as model legislation. According to Media Literacy Now, New Jersey, Utah, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota and California also address media literacy in various statutes.

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