Media Alert: Massachusetts Passes Media Literacy Bill for Schools

NWARM thought you would be interested in this bill regarding Media Literacy in the Schools in Massachusetts just passed (Bill S.213) – An Act Concerning Media Literacy in Schools and perhaps you would want to support such a campaign here in Washington state. The group who sponsored the legislation is interested in seeing if they can help in other states.  While it focuses on teaching children the skills for “accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating and participating in the 21st media culture” (The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2014), these skills can spill over into their own home and community, teaching these children how to better look at these cartoons, videos, etc. and learn what is fake and what is real, and use their critical thinking process on what to apply to real life and what to leave alone.

The Massachusetts Bill S.213 states the following:

SECTION 1. Chapter 69 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 1N the following section:Section 1O. To equip students with the knowledge and skills for accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating and participating in the 21st century media culture, and to ensure students develop the independent thinking and critical analysis skills needed to navigate the messages of a media-saturated world, the department of elementary and secondary education shall authorize and assist in the implementation of programs on teaching media literacy. The components of media literacy covered in the program shall include: Accessing and evaluating information from a variety of internet and other media sources; Analyzing how media messages, including advertising, are constructed and for what purposes; Evaluating media’s explicit and implicit messages, how messages can be interpreted, how values and points of view are included and excluded, and how media can influence ideas and behaviors; Creating media and messages using a variety of media tools, including the use of words, images, sound and other multi-media tools; Participating in a global media culture.The department shall develop standards and objectives for media literacy for grades kindergarten to 12, inclusive, within the existing curriculum. The department shall make available to school districts a list of resources to aid in the selection of materials and resources that contain substantive provisions on media literacy, and will ensure that approved media literacy training opportunities are made available for professional development points within the teacher recertification program.

This Bill could be instrumental in teaching children important critical thinking skills, not only with video games and cartoons, but with any type of television they watch from the time they start learning these skills and throughout life. These skills can teach these children to start looking at media sources in a different way, especially young children who want to fit in with the crowd in middle school and high school. They can help them understand that models are air brushed to make them look better and delete their deficiencies, as well as help young women just coming into puberty understand that society is not interested in women who are skin and bones, but a woman who is strong and confident and believes in themselves. I believe that these media literacy efforts could possibly thwart different types of “growing pains” that children and young adults experience now-a-days and instill a sense of self worth by understanding that media is a portal to get a message out in order to sell money and basically control the populace in different ways.

For details go to:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (2014). Bill S.213 – An Act Concerning Media

Literacy in Schools. Retrieved February 26, 2014 from https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S213

3 thoughts on “Media Alert: Massachusetts Passes Media Literacy Bill for Schools

  1. I am admittedly uneducated on this issue. Is Massachusetts the first/only state to enact such legislature? Is there a push in our state in this direction? Is media literacy taught in any K-12 schools in WA? If so, has a curriculum been developed? Where can I find information to teach my kids (and myself!) about media literacy… in addition to this website which I just stumbled upon and have not yet delved into!
    Thank you,
    Therese

  2. Thanks for getting this valuable information disseminated.

    John

    From: Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media <comment+pwo4difihdpuh-f2fd1_d-@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Monday, March 3, 2014 3:57 PM To: John Caputo <caputo@gonzaga.edu> Subject: [New post] Media Alart: Massachusetts Passes Media Literacy Bill for Schools

    nwarm12 posted: “I thought you would be interested in this bill regarding Media Literacy in the Schools in Massachusetts just passed (Bill S.213) An Act Concerning Media Literacy in Schools and perhaps you would want to support such a campaign here in Washington state. “

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