By Erin McNeill
I’m thrilled to announce that our new model bill has been introduced in several states since the beginning of the year, when many state legislative sessions began. Meanwhile, several other states are moving forward with the model we previously developed and which still works best for those states. Combined with greater attention in the news media, momentum is building for action on media literacy policy.
Through our grassroots effort, we’ve seen the model bill introduced in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Mexico. It’s expected soon in New York – a state where our national partners are also playing a role. The bill has also been introduced in California thanks to our partner Common Sense Kids Action. Further, we’ve renewed our legislative action in Rhode Island, and are continuing our advocacy in New Jersey, where the previous model is pending on the House side after approval by the Senate. In addition, Washington state has introduced a follow-up appropriation bill.
Media Literacy Now developed the model bill in partnership with Common Sense Kids Action, the National Association for Media Literacy Education and the Digital Citizenship Institute. The bill is based on the successful Washington bill passed last year through the leadership of Claire Beach, president of Action for Media Education, with guidance and resources from Media Literacy Now (see Take Action page for bill text). The new model would set up a structure and process for a community dialogue on the challenges of education in the 21st century at a time of rapid change in technology and the media it delivers.
In the last few months, several new advocates have stepped forward to lead the efforts in their home states. We’re providing resources and guidance to highly motivated advocates in the North, South and Midwest and West – including our chapter leaders in Arizona and New Mexico, who have already seen their advocacy work pay off with new legislation introductions this year.
It’s exciting to see so much forward momentum. I think we are on the cusp of a new era of students learning essential literacy skills for the 21st Century.