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Helping California's Students Navigate Their Digital Lives
California is in a pivotal moment for teachers, parents, and students to help set a global standard for teaching and learning. Two key bills to promote digital citizenship and media literacy in California schools have passed in the state legislature and are headed to the governor's desk -- and he needs to hear your voice!
Waiting for Governor Jerry Brown's signature are two bills that have cleared legislative hurdles after a multiyear campaign conducted by California state senators Bill Dodd (Napa) and Hannah-Beth Jackson (Santa Barbara). Through SB 947 and SB 830, all California school children can begin to acquire the critical thinking skills needed to discern fact from fiction and news from entertainment, as well as the skills they need to be active, informed citizens living in a media-driven world.
SB 947, introduced by Senator Jackson and co-authored by Senator Dodd, will create an advisory committee bringing together students, educators, parents, experts, and community members to identify best practices for digital citizenship education and ways that schools can harness the incredible opportunities tech presents while navigating tech's potential threats to kids' mental health, safety, and role as citizens of a vibrant democracy.
This important work will lay a future foundation for California to lead the way in helping students safely and effectively utilize technology to communicate in a global media environment.
SB 830, introduced by Senator Dodd in partnership with principal co-authors Senator Jackson and Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and co-authors Senator Steven Bradford, Senator Connie Leyva, and Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and Randy Voepel, calls for the State Department of Education to develop a list, available online, of media literacy resources, instructional materials, and professional development programs.
Teachers, students, and parents see the impact of media on their lives every day. These bills offer a pathway to providing teachers and students with the support they need to navigate the virtual world and to thrive in a digital arena. We look forward to partnering with the Department of Education to provide resources and build even more of a robust pipeline for media literacy education for students and teachers.
Common Sense and the Center for Media Literacy, along with a host of other education advocates, have long called for media and information literacy to provide a foundation for the digital citizenship needed in today's world -- and these bills offer a first opportunity to address teachers' and students' need for media literacy and digital citizenship in the State of California.