(TNS) – In an age dominated by social media and massive amounts of information and misinformation, the state of Colorado will soon help schools teach kindergarten through high school students how to distinguish fact from fiction.
The Colorado General Assembly passed a bill in the spring requiring the state Department of Education to establish and maintain an online resource bank of media education materials in accordance with the law, also known as House Bill 1103.
Governor Jared Polis signed the bill in June.
State Representative Lisa Cutter, one of the bill’s main sponsors, said she was interested in the legislation due to the countless number of outlets providing news and information today. – in relation to the options when she was a student.
“We had a few sources of information and were watching the news and making decisions based on unbiased information,” Cutter said. “Children now have a billion sources of information which may or may not be credible.”
At the request of a school or school district, the Colorado Department of Education will provide the resources and assistance available for “the implementation of policies and procedures, best practices and recommendations related to education. ‘media literacy’, according to the bill.
There is no obligation for schools or school districts to adopt or implement the material or information in the current curriculum.
Cutter, a Democrat who represents Jefferson County, was joined in sponsoring the bill by: House colleague Barbara McLachlan, a Democrat representing Archuleta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, La Plata, Ouray and San counties Juan; and from the Senate, the main sponsors were Democrat Brittany Petersen of Jefferson County and Republican of District 6 Don Corum, who represents Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties.
McLachlan said she joined as the main sponsor of the bill because she “liked what Cutter was saying”, and especially in the current climate of communication and information around the world.
“It’s all day and every day and all the news channels on the right side and the left side,” McLachlan said. “When we look, we have to discern and examine the bias and the intentional bias.”
In 2019, Cutter, who has a background in public relations and communications, and Petersen were major sponsors of a bill creating the resource bank that schools and districts could rely on to teach classes. The 2019 bill, HB-1110, also created an advisory committee to develop the resource bank with $ 19,816 allocated in fiscal year 2019-2020.
There is no financing credit attached to the 2021 bill. Information on the bill indicates that from the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the CDE’s workload will increase to compile and maintain a bank media education resources and to provide support to schools, districts and charter schools.
The media literacy content standards will be adopted as part of the next regular update of the reading, writing and civic education standards by the State Board of Education. The process of reviewing and revising Social Studies and four other standards is underway and will continue until June 2022, according to the state Department of Education website.
McLachlan said the bill was developed because lawmakers did not want to present material to students for a class in the senior year of high school, when the impact might not be as strong. Instead, the materials will be available and the grade appropriate, so teachers and administrators don’t have to “reinvent the wheel,” as McLachlan put it, to teach an important subject.
“I don’t think we should shut down any information,” Cutter said. “But too many people masquerade as real news and credible information and they are not.”
© 2021 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colorado). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.