Rather than making sure California’s K-12 public school students are graduating able to read and speak at grade level, do math at grade level, know who the President of the noted States is, where Uganda, Singapore and Nova Scotia are on the map, are well-versed in Civics and U.S. History, and can balance their bank account, the California Legislature is now introducing “media literacy” into the curriculum.
Maybe the California Legislature could just focus on reading proficiency given that the state continues to rank 50th in the country in literacy.
If that made you recoil, it should. Who exactly decides what media literacy is?
“Recognizing fake news, being savvy about social media and resisting cyberbullying would be a required part of California school curriculum under a bill now making its way through the Legislature.
Assembly Bill 873, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, would direct the state’s Instructional Quality Commission to incorporate media literacy into K-12 curriculum in English language arts, math, science, history and social studies frameworks. Eventually, all students would receive media literacy lessons every year, in every class.
“We need to make sure the next generation has the critical thinking skills and analytic skills to be discerning about what they’re bombarded with online,” Berman said. “My hope is that students talk to their parents about this, too.”
Assembly Bill 873 by Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), is as alarming as Assembly Bill 2098, which empowers the California Medical Board of California to go after the licenses of physicians who disseminate “misinformation” or “disinformation” regarding Covid-19, the Globe reported in January. A judge blocked implementation of AB 2098 while the legal case is in the courts.
“Who decides what is “Covid misinformation?”
We asked Lance Izumi, Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute his expert assessment on the latest legislative attempt to regulate what and how media is taught to public school children.
“The problem with any education program that purports to teach students how to identify ‘misinformation’ is this inherent flaw—who judges what is ‘misinformation’?” Izumi said. “As we have seen with the release of the Durham report exposing the lies of much of the establishment media regarding President Trump and the baseless allegations of Russian collusion, teaching news literacy is fraught with massive pitfalls.”
“Who determines what is ‘news literacy’ and ‘reliable information’?” Izumi continued. “Many in the establishment media labeled important stories, such as Hunter Biden’s laptop and the origins of COVID, as conspiracy theories until those stories were eventually proven to be true. Beyond the frothy language of the legislation, the key questions will be how the supposed ‘news literacy’ skills will be taught in class, what range of news sources will be labeled ‘reliable information,’ and what guardrails will there be to ensure that these courses do not turn into political indoctrination classes?”
This embodies a lengthy interview I had in 2018 with longtime, master news reporter Sharyl Attkisson. We were discussing the 2018 bills in the California Legislature seeking to teach students about “fake news,” and how lawmakers were pushing for new laws to root out “fake news” and teach media literacy in public schools.
Several of the proposed “fake news” bills claimed, “There is evidence to suggest that the dissemination of ‘fake news’ through social media influenced the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election,” as justification for attempting to create a government control of the media, I reported. The ultimate plan is to expand beyond this unelected “advisory council” to create actual legislation authorizing state government to make this determination.
In my article, Dem Sen. Richard Pan New Bill to Force News Sites to Use ‘Fact-Checkers‘, I explained: “Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) is the author of the “Online False Information Act,” a new bill that would require anyone who posts any news on the Internet to verify all information through ‘fact-checkers.’ Sen. Pan does not name who these ‘fact checkers’ are, but I’m sure the State of California will create a new unelected body of elite state employees to oversee this. “Sen. Pan’s bill would ‘require social media Web sites to disclose their ‘strategic plan to mitigate the spread of false information'” (to the California Ministry of Truth?), the first bill analysis explained.
We asked “who decides what’s real when it’s a matter in dispute,” and who decides the K-12 curriculum on “how to identify ‘fake news?'”
“Do you think there is a way for the government or third parties to get involved in curating our information for us so that we can really read factual information? Or is that just a no win proposition?” Attkisson asked.
“I think the answer is absolutely no. It’s a no-win proposition,” I told Attkisson.
SHARYL ATTKISSON: “Is it sort of a new trend in your experience to see government stepping in and saying that it has a role to play in helping sort through or curate information for us?”
KATY GRIMES: “Yes. This seems to be a very new role and it’s extremely disturbing. They’re trying to pass a bill that would require schools to teach children some idea of what fake news is. And I think that’s just a giant red flag.”
While only one of the 2018 bills passed in a slightly watered down version, AB 873 should give everyone pause.
Even more concerning than the attempt to control who decides what’s real news versus “fake news,” is AB 873 passed unanimously in the Assembly and is now in the Senate Education Committee. Republicans also voted for this dangerous bill.
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