Media literacy is important, and California apparently agrees. Grade school students in the state will now have courses on the subject.
With the media working in unprecedented times, California’s education officials pushed for Assembly Bill No. 873, approved by Governor Gavin Newsom in October. The bill notes the “need for comprehensive media literacy education for all elementary and secondary pupils” amid “the proliferation of online misinformation.”
The state will require K-12 students to learn media literacy skills, such as identifying fake news and thinking critically about what they are exposed to online.
Democratic Assemblymember Marc Berman is behind the bill and referenced the Capitol riot and pandemic-related conspiracy theories when highlighting the importance of the legislation, Complex reported.
“We have a responsibility to teach the next generation to be more critical consumers of online content and more guarded against misinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theories,” Berman said last month. “In addition, this instruction will help students to be more responsible digital citizens, more intentional about what they put online, and better understand online safety and privacy.”
“Media literacy content” will be folded into the curriculum across multiple subjects, including English, science, math, and history. It will also teach students how to spot fake news.
California isn’t the first state to find a solution to the spread of misinformation in the media. In January, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to put in motion something similar in the state.