Senator introduces bill to eliminate proliferation of fake news

Media literacy would become part of public schools

SACRAMENTO - California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) introduced a bill that would make sure students in state public schools learn how to read media sources critically, act ethically, responsibly, and safely online.

Senate Bill 203 aims at teaching students how to spot fake news and enables students, parents and educators to establish strategies ensuring that digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy become part of California's basic teaching requirements in public schools.

“This legislation is about ensuring we have an informed citizenry,” said Sen. Jackson. “The role of the media and technology is only growing. The skills we teach kids today about critical thinking, the role of media in their lives and how best to interact with social media, fake news and technology will help keep them safe and serve them into adulthood.”

In a press statement, Senator Jackson's office said the following:

"This bill establishes a state-based advisory committee comprised of educators, administrators, researchers, and parents who will work under the oversight of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop best practices, resources, and models for instruction.  Among other things, this advisory group will help develop strategies for school districts to implement this instruction, including professional development and training for educators and administrators."

"Starting in 2019, this bill will also direct school districts to annually review their policies on digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy, in light of district resources and with feedback from the community."

SB 203 was introduced in response to the recent explosion of faux news on social media and other websites, particularly during the 2016 Presidential election.

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