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"Fake News" Bills Gathering Momentum in California

Common Sense founder and CEO James P. Steyer explains the importance of California's leadership in a national effort to put digital citizenship and media-literacy resources in schools.

The California State Senate Education Committee today passed Senate Bill 203, legislation that Common Sense Kids Action is sponsoring as part of our national effort to strengthen digital citizenship and media-literacy resources for schools and districts.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson is the author of SB 203, which would create a pathway to incorporate instruction on digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy into California's public schools. SB 203 would establish a state-based advisory committee composed of educators, administrators, researchers, students, and parents to work with the state superintendent of public instruction to develop best practices, resources, and models for instruction in digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy.

Today, Common Sense founder and CEO James P. Steyer explained why it's important for California to be a leader in this national effort: "We need to ensure our schools have what they need to help our kids learn how to address the challenges created by cyberbullying, sexting, privacy, digital footprints, and fake news. In addition to parents, our teachers, teacher-librarians, and administrators have a critical role to play to educate, empower, and engage our kids about the safe, ethical, and responsible use of the internet and mobile technologies."

The Education Committee also passed Senate Bill 135, authored by Senator Bill Dodd, which would require the state Board of Education to ensure that media literacy is integrated into social science curricula. Common Sense Kids Action has given SB 135 a "For Kids" rating in our Common Sense Legislative Ratings program because we believe this bill is a strong complement to SB 203. Senator Dodd's bill would help ensure that our kids are well equipped to analyze and evaluate the flood of news, both real and fake, available to them online.

Both bills are now headed to the California State Senate Appropriations Committee for hearings later this spring.

Jim Steyer

Jim is Common Sense Media's CEO and founder -- read all about him here.