Media literacy bill approaching governor’s desk | Western Colorado
The Colorado Senate on Monday approved a bill that would create a media literacy resource center that Republicans say has the potential to be biased against certain ideas.
Proponents of the bill, including one of its sponsors, Montrose GOP Sen. Don Coram, say the whole point of the bill is to teach the next generation how to tell the difference between what is true and what is deceptive , understand.
However, opponents say it has too much potential to prohibit one point of view and advocate another.
“The government shouldn’t decide which speech is allowed and which is not,” said Senate minority leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker.
“This law is supposed to be the arbiter of the truth, and the truth is something we should all seek from every possible source,” said Senator Paul Lundeen, R-Monument. “This bill is supposed to be something the state should never do, and that is the position of the arbiter of truth.”
But Coram said this is happening right now with social media and the internet, which is partly guided by money or policy-driven algorithms developed by telecommunications companies and the personal and political opinions of their executives.
He said people need to be aware and careful of what they hear and read online so that they can better determine for themselves which information is credible and which should be rejected.
“I worry that we’re in a nation where one group can get their message across and the other can’t,” Coram said. “If we don’t teach our children to think critically, the problem will get worse. I don’t see this as a government shutdown. The bill says the goal is to educate people to teach critical thinking without indoctrination. “
Another sponsor of the bill, Senator Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, said nothing in the bill is required of schools to do anything. It would merely provide resources necessary to help teachers show students how to learn the difference between what is fact-based and what is convincing, e.g.
Pettersen said any media literacy curriculum offered by schools would still include letting students choose what to believe.
“This is not about controlling information, it is about making sure people think critically when they see this headline, when they actually look at where those news sources are from, or if there are any sources at all,” she said.
“When I think about how the world is changing, I look at my father,” added Pettersen. “He believes everything that arrives in an email because it has to be real. It’s on the internet. My dad is one of the people who actually believe in QAnon. He lacks these critical thinking skills in a changing world. “
Pettersen said social media has been turned into arms and used by unscrupulous foreign nations to destabilize other nations, and not just in the United States.
Under the bill, a media literacy advisory body would recommend what’s included in the resource center, and the Colorado Department of Education is supposed to set rules for how the public can request to include or exclude something.
The bill also calls on the ministry to provide technical assistance in introducing media literacy standards and best practices into their curricula, but only to the schools or districts that request it.
The measure was approved 22-12 with only two Republicans, Coram and Senator Kevin Priola of Henderson, joining the Democrats.
It’s going back to the Colorado House, which it previously approved by a 41-23 vote in March, for final approval before it can go to Governor Jared Polis’s desk.