Will Donald Trump win the 2024 election?
Investigation by Ben Weingarten originally published by RealClearInvestigations and RealClearWire
New Jersey is enlisting public-school teachers and librarians to show children how to combat what it calls the grave threat of disinformation.
“Our democracy remains under sustained attack through the proliferation of disinformation,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in signing the nation’s first law mandating “information literacy” instruction for all K-12 students. The law, which aims to provide students with the “critical thinking” skills necessary to differentiate between “facts, points of view, and opinions” will, Murphy proclaimed, ensure “that our kids … possess the skills needed to discern fact from fiction.”
At a time when the nation’s political and thought leaders are wrestling over the meaning of facts and truth, and distinctions between disinformation, misinformation and plain old information, the New Jersey bill is part of a growing effort to have teachers tell students how to settle these questions.
Since 2016, ten states controlled by Democratic legislators, and three run by Republicans, have passed “media literacy” laws.
Media literacy advocates such as Erin McNeill, President of Media Literacy Now, say the goal is to teach students “how to consume information, not what information to consume.”
But other educational experts see information and media literacy as inherently political, or minimally ripe for politicization.
The “guise of ‘media literacy,’” writes John Sailer, a senior fellow at the National Association of Scholars, “often functions as a trojan horse, casting certain political views” – conservative ones, say critics – “as prima facie wrong and biased.”
The progressive politics of those backing information and media literacy bills in some states give skeptics further pause – concerns heightened by rhetoric like that of Gov. Murphy, who framed New Jersey’s bill as responsive to the “violent insurrection” of Jan. 6, 2021.
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Investigation by Ben Weingarten – This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.