(The Center Square) – Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation which amends the state school code to include a media education unit.
State Representative Elizabeth Hernandez, a Democrat, filed the invoice. Some Republicans opposed the bill, fearing it would lead school boards to choose reputable media.
Bill 234 requires school districts to add media education instruction.
State Senator Karina Villa, Democrat and Senate chief sponsor of the new legislation, said that while students are online more than ever, they are still vulnerable to misinformation.
“The Internet has become the main public place for young people, they debate and discuss politics and current affairs, but are also vulnerable to lack of information,” Villa said.
The new legislation will be an addition to an already required computer literacy course, Villa said.
“Because this legislation is required for all schools in the state, the requirement of HB 234 to add media education can easily be added to the basic computer literacy course already required,” Villa said. .
State Representative Adam Niemerg, a Republican, opposed House Bill 234. He called it a reactionary “anti-Trump and anti-conservative” bill, which he said is an attempt by the left “to enter our school systems at a young age. and teach them how to use mainstream media.
The Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Association of School Library Educators as well as dozens of schools filed witness records in support of the measure in May.
The Illinois Education Association, a union that represents more than 135,000 members, including teachers, has not taken a position on the bill, according to testimony from witnesses. The Illinois State Board of Education also took no position.
The legislation came into effect immediately statewide.