Hurry Run! Fake News Invasion! Will the California State Legislature Save Us and All of Our Children with #AB155?
Fake news. It is everywhere.
Well, that’s at least what we are being told. It’s it real? Or is there a select number of individuals who want to be the only ones who tell the official story? This seems to be the case with AB155 introduced in the California State Assembly.
Fake News stories are everywhere . . .
Just do a quick google search of “fake news” and you will find ample stories full of fear mongering. Here are just a few that I found:
- Fortune just published a story “What’s Driving Fake News Is an Increase in Political Tribalism“.
- Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to it.
- Here’s a list of fake news sites being passed around on the internet that includes www.breitbart.com and infowars.com
Those concerned with “fake news” are telling people that we as American citizens are not capable of critical thinking and discernment. And that they need to crack down on “fake news” to protect us.
That’s why my ears perked when I learned about AB155 introduced by Assembly Member Gomez on 1/11/17 in the California State Assembly.
If you haven’t heard about it already, it’s entitled “Pupil Instruction: Civic Online Reasoning” and it specifically states that there is a need to add curriculum in California public schools to teach children how to point out “fake” news from “real” news.
Here is a copy of the bill text.
“This bill would require the Instructional Quality Commission to develop, and the state board to adopt, revised curriculum standards and frameworks for English language arts, mathematics, history-social science, and science that incorporate civic online reasoning, as defined.”
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:(a) For every challenge facing this nation, there are numerous Internet sources pretending to be something they are not. With so much information shared on the Internet, it can be difficult to tell the difference between real news and fake news.(b) Ordinary people once relied on publishers, editors, and subject matter experts to vet the information they consumed, but information shared on the Internet is disseminated rapidly and often without editorial oversight, making it easier for fake news to reach a large audience.(c) A recent study has shown that the inability to distinguish between real news and fake news is particularly pronounced among young people.(d) Young people tend to accept information as presented, even without supporting evidence or citations, and rarely ask where it came from or try to verify it.(e) Young people also struggle to tell the difference between native advertising, an increasingly common type of advertising that tries to sell or promote a product while posing as a news article, and real news stories.(f) The inability of young people to distinguish between real news and fake news makes them less informed about important civic issues and poses a direct threat to our democracy.
Section 51226.8 is added to the Education Code, to read:
(a) The Instructional Quality Commission shall develop, and the state board shall adopt, revised curriculum standards and frameworks for English language arts, mathematics, history-social science, and science that incorporate civic online reasoning.(b) For purposes of this section, “civic online reasoning” means the ability to judge the credibility and quality of information found on Internet Web sites, including social media.”
After reading the bill I could only imagine schools being forced to teach “particular news” that is “government approved”.
And I asked myself another question. Why is this needed? Didn’t California just incorporate Common Core into the public education system?
One of the biggest goals of Common Core is to teach critical thinking to all students in every grade and every subject. Here is a quote from corestandard.org.
The Common Core asks students to read stories and literature, as well as more complex texts that provide facts and background knowledge in areas such as science and social studies. Students will be challenged and asked questions that push them to refer back to what they’ve read. This stresses critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that are required for success in college, career, and life.
And assuming that is true, then why do we need #AB155? Isn’t it the job of our public school teachers to teach their students critical thinking? I for one think that this should be one of the biggest goals of education.
Do we really need the burden of another state-wide mandate? Who will determine what is real and what is fake? Will there be an official department of “thought police” added to the California Department of Education? Will dictating what our children believe and what they don’t believe help them to be the most productive citizens? Will it kill creativity and innovation and thus prevent advancements in the future?
Furthermore, AB155 has the potential to trample on one of the biggest rights we as Americans hold dear, freedom of speech. Who will decide what is “fake” and what is “real”? This could lead to censorship of ideas and thoughts.
You can read the bill and check on its status by clicking here.
I encourage all of you to read it critically and decipher what you think is the bill’s true intent.
- Does it have the potential to trample on freedom of speech?
- Is it promoting censorship of ideas and thoughts?
- Do we want our kids to just believe all information that is fed to them or do we want them to learn how to think logically and critically?
- How will California pay to create this new curriculum?
- Is it a redundant law as Common Core already seeks to teach critical thinking?
- Does it censor the internet?
Personally, I see huge problems with this bill and will do what I can to stop it.
If you think it’s bad too, please contact your CA state assemblymen (women) and ask them to oppose it. You can find out who they are by clicking here.
And who knows, if enough of you share this article maybe it will get labeled as “fake” news too!
And btw, Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez who introduced this bill is running for Congress. If he is trying to pass these kinds of laws on a state level what are his plans on a federal level?
Tweet with hashtags: Not about #FakeNews #CensorshipInDisguise