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Governor Signs Bill To Boost Media Literacy In California Schools

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio / File
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio / File

Efforts to fight fake news received a boost with the recent signing of a media literacy bill by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Senate Bill 830 requires the state Department of Education to publish a list of media literacy resources online, as well as teacher development opportunities. The goal is to help students better evaluate different sources of digital information, and distinguish between news stories and advertisements.

“We’re thrilled about the passage of this bill. It is a huge step for the media literacy field,” said Tessa Jolls, president of the Malibu-based Center for Media Literacy. “We’ve been waiting 30 years for this kind of passage to happen. Hopefully, we can keep at it and continue to build on this really strong beginning.”

Jolls said more extensive media literacy bills have stalled at the Capitol, including one recently vetoed by Brown that would have established best practices for media literacy instruction. Another that would have created a media literacy curriculum failed in the Legislature last year.

The proposals responded to the phenomenon of fake news or made-up articles that exploded during the 2016 presidential election.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, authored SB 830. He’s said it was inspired by a recent Stanford study that found more than 80 percent of middle school students struggled to distinguish between ads and news.

Dodd will host a forum at 6 p.m. on Monday at UC Davis on fake news and media literacy in the digital age. A livestream link to the forum is here.

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