By Denise Ramirez, communications manager
Colorado has new media literacy legislation in the works. Presented by state Rep. Lisa Cutter and co-sponsored by state Rep. Barbara McLachlan, House Bill 1357 would require the Department of Education to provide technical assistance on developing media literacy policies and procedures to school districts that request it as well as to create an online bank of media literacy resources.
“Colorado’s students are facing the largest and most complex information landscape in human history and it’s crucial that we provide educators with the tools necessary to help our youth better understand the world around them,” Rep. Cutter said in a recent Opinion piece for the Colorado Sun. “Fostering a society that is media literate will help promote more robust and productive civil discourse.”
HB 1357 continues the work of Colorado’s previous media literacy legislation passed in June 2019. Fashioned after MLN’s model bill, HB 1110 mandated the creation of the Media Literacy Advisory Committee (MLAC), a team of media literacy experts including teachers, students, librarians, and journalists. The MLAC was tasked with creating a list of recommendations that would help improve media literacy education in elementary and secondary schools. The recommendations, submitted to the Colorado State Board of Education in January, included specifications for revisions to Colorado academic standards, best materials and resources to be used in the classroom, and teacher training procedures, as well as how to best support school districts in making these changes. These recommendations, of which a full list can be found here, led to the development of HB 1357.
“If acted upon through the passage of HB 1357, the MLAC’s recommendations will provide the critical support for media literacy education needed to assure a media-literate Colorado, and slow the spread of misinformation and disinformation,” stated MLAC facilitator Nancy White. Media Literacy Now looks forward to supporting Colorado get another step closer to making sure that its students are equipped with the skills they need to effectively process media and information.
Are you a Colorado resident who would like to support media literacy education in your state? Call your local state representative and urge them to vote in favor of passing HB 1357! (Find your representatives here.)
Even if you’re not from Colorado, there’s always work to be done. Find out what’s happening in your state. Additionally, we are always eager to provide support for anyone who is interested in pushing for the improvement of media literacy education in their state. Together, we can help improve media literacy education at both the local and national levels to ensure that all children have access to these crucial skills.