The Senate Education Committee approves proposals for reporting media literacy and sexual assault
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – A plan moving through Springfield could require public schools in Illinois to teach children skills to spot misinformation.
Democrats say public schools should prepare young people for their civic responsibilities by offering a media literacy curriculum.
Senator Karina Villa says the internet has become a place for students to debate and discuss social issues and politics. However, she believes they are also prone to persecution and misinformation.
Villa’s proposal would include media literacy during the required year-long computer courses. Republicans were concerned about how schools will teach the difference between “fake news” and real media.
“When we were younger and went to the library, we knew what was in the fiction department and what was in the non-fiction department,” Villa said. “There are clearly defined rules, ways of defining that, from people who are in the education system.”
The West Chicago Democrat stated that teachers’ opinions would not be used in this situation. In fact, individual school districts could set the curriculum.
“So the county decided that Anderson Cooper was a liar just for example. You can basically say Anderson Cooper is saying it’s fake news, ”asked Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro).
Villa later said the unit would only help students review information in news articles and make their own judgment.
Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas said her daughter could benefit from this change. She stated that her second grader can now view information online and judge whether or not it is from a verified source.
House Bill 234 was passed 11-2 by the Senate Education Committee. It is now going to be examined in the Senate. MEPs approved the proposal last month by 68 votes to 44.
Report sexual assault at school
Schools in Illinois may soon also be required to report the number of sexual assaults that have occurred in schools. Senate Act 633 could create a new column of school report cards to list the number of sexual assaults without violating confidentiality.
The report would include the number of incidents on school premises or during school-related activities that resulted in suspension, eviction or other forms of removal. With the approval of both chambers, reporting would begin at the beginning of the school year 2022-2023.
Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) also worked with stakeholders to see how schools in smaller counties could meet this requirement.
“In a smaller community that may have only had one incident, you would not be able to protect that person’s confidentiality. So we’re going to be listing fewer than 10, ”Murphy explained.
Republicans thanked Murphy for working with stakeholders to address the confidentiality issue for smaller communities in the Downstate. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Education Committee and moved to the Senate.