In 2017, five states passed Media Literacy legislation. Connecticut and Rhode Island both have a new law calling on the state department of education to convene a group of Media Literacy stakeholders to advise the state on incorporating Media Literacy into the curriculum. New Mexico passed Memorial 49 in the House, and took action during the interim session with an extended hearing. Washington passed its new bill implementing recommendations of the education department as a result of last year’s successful law. California has passed a media arts bill with Media Literacy as a goal. Media Literacy Now advocated for all of these bills.
The year of 2017 represented an all-time high for Media Literacy legislation. Eleven states introduced or continued consideration a total of 21 bills that would help more students gain Media Literacy skills.
- California (3 bills, one signed by governor)
- Connecticut (Signed by governor)
- Massachusetts (9 bills, one Senate-passed, still in session)
- New Jersey (Senate-passed)
- New Mexico (Signed in House)
- New York
- Rhode Island (Signed by governor)
- Washington (Signed by governor)
As we gear up for the 2018 session, we expect to see Media Literacy legislation in at least two new states.
In 2016 the governor of Washington signed into law a bill spearheaded by Media Literacy Now and our partner, Action for Media Education, that establishes a support structure to enable state educators to implement media literacy and digital citizenship education in every school.
In 2016, New Jersey’s Senate approved S436, which requires the Department of Education to emphasize media literacy as a priority in the state’s school districts, with the support of Media Literacy Now. The bill is still pending at the Assembly.
In 2015, Connecticut approved a law that requires health and safety curricula include an opportunity for students to undergo training in safe usage of social media. The legislation also states that public school students will receive instruction in computer programming. The legislation was introduced through the advocacy of Welcome 2 Reality with the support of Media Literacy Now.
In 2015, Utah passed a law that implements digital citizenship education in schools, with the support of Media Literacy Now.
In 2014, New Jersey enacted a law requiring schools to teach safe and ethical use of social media in grades 6 through 8.
Florida and Ohio require that media literacy skills be integrated into the curriculum.
Illinois requires school districts to incorporate internet safety lessons – the lessons are to be given every year starting in grade 3, and include topics such as safe and responsible use of social networking websites, chat rooms, electronic mail, bulletin boards, instant messaging, and other means of communication on the internet.
New Mexico educational statutes recommend a media literacy elective in middle or high school.
Washington recently passed a law that identifies digital citizenship as a school librarian role.
Minnesota recently added specific media literacy standards for k through 12 to the Common Core standards.
California included a media literacy element to an anti-sex-trafficking education law.