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Media Literacy Bills Aim to Help Students Identify Fake News

In a new era where fake news is beginning to blur the lines of truth, a few states are taking upon themselves to ensure that schools are placing enough emphasis on media literacy. In California, a media literacy bill passed through the Senate Education Committee last Wednesday. 

"Developing a comprehensive media literacy curriculum is critical to combating fake news," said State Senator Bill Dodd according to Times Herald Online. "While information has become more accessible than ever, many lack the tools to identify fake or misleading news and information. By giving students the proper tools to analyze the media they consume, we can empower them to make informed decisions."

Students are exposed to an excessive amount of misinformation on social media; therefore, it is important to teach them how to be responsible digital citizens. Instead of passively absorbing or disseminating erroneous information, students need to be able to identify and disregard non-credible news sources. Many states' ELA standards already require that students to analyze whether authors' claims are supported by evidence and/or reason. However, the California bill is nevertheless being applauded by plenty of education professionals for calling attention to this matter.

"There has never been a more important time to address the issue of media literacy in schools," said National Association for Media Literacy Education Executive Director Michelle Ciulla Lipkin according to the report.

"Our students are growing up in the midst of a complicated and diverse media landscape which they need to understand in order to fully engage and participate in today’s world. We must continue to fight for media literacy education for students of all ages. We applaud Senator Dodd for taking on this important issue and moving it forward."

The states leading the legislative charge thus far include Washington and California. In Washington, a newly signed law that supports digital citizenship and internet safety. The measure will also "[c]ommission a statewide survey of teacher-librarians, principals and school technology directors to understand how they are currently integrating digital citizenship and media literacy education into their curriculum," and "[c]reate a website with links to successful practices already used in some schools, along with curriculum and other resources for teachers."

Schools across the nation are taking steps to ensure that students possess the critical reading skills to necessary to effectively decipher what the real news is. 

Check out Education World's Ultimate Guide to Teaching Source Credibility.

Article By Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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