SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill today from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to encourage media literacy in public schools, ensuring students can discern legitimate information sources from advertising, political propaganda and falsehoods that abound on the internet.
“By giving students the proper tools to analyze the media they consume, we can empower them to make informed decisions,” Senator Dodd said.
Senate Bill 830, which is coauthored by a bipartisan group of legislators, was inspired by a recent Stanford study that found that 82 percent of middle school students struggled to distinguish advertisements from news stories.
It would require the state Department of Education to make available to school districts on its website a list of resources and instructional materials on media literacy, including professional development programs for teachers. The department would have to comply by July 1, 2019. It passed both houses with overwhelming support.
“This bill is about empowering students to make informed decisions,” Senator Dodd said. “And frankly, it’s about safeguarding the future of our democracy.”
Center for Media Literacy President and Chief Executive Officer Tessa Jolls lauded Brown’s signing of the bill. She said it represents the culmination of a 30-year effort on the part of the center and advocates globally to see that all people have the opportunity to gain the skills needed to navigate today’s global media world.
“We are thrilled at Gov. Brown’s decision to sign SB 830,” Jolls said. “Youth now have a better chance to effectively navigate the powerful images, words and sounds that make up the global media world.”
Senator Dodd will host a related public forum Sept. 24 at UC Davis entitled “‘Fake News’ and Media Literacy in the Digital Age” in which academics, journalists and scholars including Jolls will discuss the issues that gave rise to Senate Bill 830. A livestream link to the 6 p.m. forum is here.
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd