New York Governor Kathy Hochul outlined Tuesday the state’s plans for required “media literacy” lessons for K-12 students that will teach them how to identify “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories.”
“Today I’m directing the Director of Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to develop media literacy tools for K through 12 in our public schools,” Hochul said in a press conference Tuesday. “This will teach students and even teachers to help understand how to spot conspiracy theories and misinformation, disinformation, and online hate. Start talking about what we’re seeing out there, give the teachers the tools they need to help these conversations in school.”
“And by teaching younger New Yorkers about how to discern between digital fact and digital fiction, we can better inoculate them from hatred and the spread of it, and help prepare them for a very fast-moving and often confusing world.”
According to a press release from the governor’s office, New York’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) will partner with “education experts in media literacy” to “develop and distribute an age-appropriate, ideologically neutral toolkit on media literacy for students in primary and secondary schools throughout New York.”
“This proven approach to understanding information will develop students’ ability to analyze, evaluate, and assess all forms of media including information delivered through social media,” the release continued. “Utilizing various age-dependent trainings, this media literacy toolkit will encourage critical thinking and create a better understanding of how media systems work and the many equities that may be in play when someone chooses to distribute information online.”
The state plans to include “media literacy” as part of existing courses as opposed to constructing classes centered solely on the subject.
On the same day, a California bill requiring “media literacy” lessons for all grade levels took effect after it was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 13. States such as New Jersey, Illinois and Delaware also require media literacy lessons for students, while state legislatures in 18 additional states have taken steps to include mandate it.