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HomenewsBy Passing the Nation's First Statewide Mandate for Media Literacy Education in...

By Passing the Nation’s First Statewide Mandate for Media Literacy Education in Public Schools, New Jersey Has Made History.

As reported by KYW Newsradio: TRENTON, N.J. New Jersey is the first state to mandate media literacy education for kids in grades K-12 as a means of countering the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories.
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On Wednesday, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law an initiative to improve the nation’s information literacy.
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“It is our obligation to guarantee our nation’s future leaders are equipped with the tools necessary to differentiate fact from fiction,” Murphy said.

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Murphy warned that fake news poses a danger to our democratic system.

“Our democracy remains under relentless attack through the growth of disinformation that is weakening the role of truth in our political and civic dialogue,” he said.

N.J. Senator Michael Testa, who authored the measure, argued that in light of young people’s heavy use of the internet and the prevalence of fake news on social media, it is crucial that students be educated to recognize reliable sources of information.

“I don’t want our kids to get their education from just one book or TV show. In fact, I’d prefer that they consult more than one. Testa emphasized the need of teaching kids to think independently and critically.

Instead of simply being told what is true or untrue, children should be taught to come to their own conclusions through independent inquiry and evaluation, he said.

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James Madison, the “father of our Constitution,” once said, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and the people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives,” as Testa put it.

The bill requires schools to teach students to identify facts from opinions. Primary and secondary sources, as well as the editorial process, will be introduced to students.

The Department of Education must now form a committee and design a curriculum now that the legislation has become law.

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Public hearings will be held so that community members can voice their concerns about the curriculum change before classes begin.

To paraphrase what I’ve said before, “I want parents to be participating in these hearings. ”Testa said, “I think it’s enormously significant.


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