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Media Literacy law signed by Gov. Murphy for K-12 School System

The bill requires the Department of Education to incorporate curricula on information literacy

Fact versus opinion, real versus fake news, misinformation online versus finding verified sources. This has always been the job of a journalist. But now media literacy will be taught in New Jersey in classes K-12.

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed off on a bill which would require the Department of Education (DOE) to incorporate curricula on information literacy. The primary sponsors of the bill include Senators Michael Testa and Shirley Turner, and Assembly members Daniel Benson, Pamela Lampitt, and Mila Jasey.

“Our democracy remains under sustained attack through the proliferation of disinformation that is eroding the role of truth in our political and civic discourse,” said Murphy in a statement. “It is our responsibility to ensure our nation’s future leaders are equipped with the tools necessary to identify fact from fiction.”

As previously reported by the Hudson Reporter, the bill directs the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the New Jersey State Librarian, to develop curriculum guidelines on information literacy to be used by school districts.

The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) heralded the passing of the bill, “as they will be in charge of planning curriculum for grades K-12,” said Kerry Weinstein, a school librarian and part of the Bayonne Board of Education, according to her LinkedIn page.

“We thank Governor Murphy and the Legislature for their support of information literacy education,” said Jessica Trujillo, president of the NJASL. “School librarians are integral in ensuring that our New Jersey students have the knowledge and tools to assess information, determine accurate sources, and think critically. This literacy bill will ensure that students are well prepared to navigate a world where misinformation and disinformation are prevalent.”

Pamela Brunskill, who works at the News Literacy Project, a nonprofit education based organization that offers educators with free resources encouraging lessons in media literacy, told The Hudson Reporter “educators and districts looking to begin planning curriculum should start with our Framework for Teaching News Literacy.”

As a news literacy specialist, she added “news literacy can be embedded into all subjects as well as be taught as a stand alone topic,” enabling students to take on those skills of combing through a media landscape she called “saturated.”

Each school district will incorporate instruction on information literacy in an appropriate place in the curriculum of students in grades kindergarten through 12 as part of the district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. The guidelines will include, at a minimum, the following as listed on the state’s site.

“Information literacy is more important now than ever before, especially with the growing prevalence of social media and online news,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, acting Commissioner of Education. “Students for generations will be well-served by this legislation, which sets into statute the requirement for schools to provide instruction on information literacy.”

The guidelines would call for “a sequential course of study for each of the grades kindergarten through 12 and must include, at a minimum, the following to foster techniques to combat misinformation media literacy techniques for students in kindergarten through 12th grade,” as stated by the bill.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Jordan Coll can be reached at jcoll@hudsonreporter.com.





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