In the final hours of the session, Massachusetts legislators approved a second bill that promotes media literacy education, and Gov. Charlie Baker has signed the bill into law.
The new law in intended to ensure students in Massachusetts are taught the basics of personal finance preparing them for a solid financial future. The law requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to make personal financial literacy curriculum resources and professional development available to all schools and districts. And it states that personal financial literacy education should include evaluating media content, including online content, related to personal finance.
“Media is definitely an influencer when it comes to how we develop our values and make decisions about money,” said Tamara Sobel, advocacy coordinator for MLN in Massachusetts. “It just makes sense that having critical thinking skills around all media is relevant to financial decision-making, whether it is understanding how specific financial products are marketed, or more generally how advertising and entertainment media may influence financial and lifestyle values. We want young people to be prepared to make educated financial decisions throughout their lives, and media literacy skills are definitely part of that preparation.”
Ms. Sobel worked with the Mass Saves Coalition advocating for the bill (S.2374/ H.5030), and was successful in adding the media literacy clause to the bill. She also helped rally support for the bill from the MLN community, many of whom wrote emails and made calls to legislators in support of the bill.
Thanks to the grassroots support and targeted advocacy, all Massachusetts students will begin to be taught vital information to help them develop a base of financial understanding and a stronger financial future, including the media’s role in personal financial decision-making.