Spread of fake news prompts lit­er­acy ef­forts

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - NATION/POLITICS -

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Alarmed by the pro­lif­er­a­tion of false con­tent on­line, state law­mak­ers around the coun­try are push­ing schools to put more em­pha­sis on teach­ing stu­dents how to tell fact from fic­tion.

Law­mak­ers in sev­eral states have in­tro­duced or passed bills call­ing on pub­lic school sys­tems to do more to teach me­dia lit­er­acy skills they say are crit­i­cal to democ­racy.

The ef­fort has been bi­par­ti­san but has re­ceived lit­tle at­ten­tion de­spite suc­cess­ful leg­is­la­tion in Washington state, Con­necti­cut, Rhode Is­land and New Mex­ico.

Sev­eral more states are ex­pected to con­sider such bills in the com­ing year, in­clud­ing Ari­zona, New York and Hawaii.

“I don’t think it’s a par­ti­san is­sue to ap­pre­ci­ate the im­por­tance of good in­for­ma­tion and the teach­ing of tools for nav­i­gat­ing the in­for­ma­tion en­vi­ron­ment,” said Hans Zeiger, a Repub­li­can state sen­a­tor in Washington who co-spon­sored a bill that passed in his state ear­lier this year. “There is such a thing as an ob­jec­tive source ver­sus other kinds of sources, and that’s an ap­pro­pri­ate thing for schools to be teach­ing.”

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