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Media Literacy

Legislators disagree on the content of a media literacy library | Western Colorado


A bill approved Monday at Colorado House to create a primary resource center for schools to teach media literacy met with Republican opposition over concerns about the contents of that media library.

The Democrats in the House of Representatives said that there is nothing in House Law 1103 designed to tilt student attitudes towards any particular mindset, quite the contrary.

“Don’t be afraid of the term ‘media literacy’. Reading and writing is not just about reading and writing, but also understanding what you read and write, ”said MP Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, a former teacher and one of the bill’s sponsors.

“Debate and disagreement are a healthy and necessary part of democracy,” added Lisa Cutter, D-Littleton MP. “But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we don’t argue about the facts, but rather debate the solutions?”

Republican lawmakers said they were concerned that the online media library to be created and maintained by the Colorado Department of Education would be filled with material that supports a particular point of view.

They wanted and got a way to allow the public to complain about the library’s contents by letting them comment on the removal or addition of content.

Regardless, no Republican has voted in the House of Representatives.

“My concern is that in some ways we are creating guidelines that don’t allow our system to teach children to think, but rather what to think,” said Dave Williams Rep., R-Colorado Springs. “I’m not sure if we can look at this other than as an opportunity to instill a particular worldview to teachers and our students that they may not accept or, more importantly, their parents may not accept. “

The measure follows a new law passed by lawmakers in 2019 that set up a special advisory committee to help the department develop curricula for teaching media literacy in public schools.

That committee released a report in December 2019 that said, in part, that the advent of social media has created a cacophony of information that younger people may not be able to understand what is true and what is supposed to be manipulated.

This conclusion is borne out by recent studies, which show that adults don’t always understand this either.

A new study published this month in Nature magazine by a team of researchers led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that many social media users who share news and information lack the media literacy needed to know how to verify the source of the information before sharing it.

The study offers a relatively simple solution: social media platforms need to show the source of this news and encourage their users to pay more attention to who is promoting it.

House Republicans say a better solution would be more sources of information, not a group that decides for everyone what constitutes exact media.

The bill now goes to the Colorado Senate, where it has at least one GOP supporter, Senator Don Coram, R-Montrose, who is one of its sponsors.


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