(Apr 16, 2024) Cambridge, MA: The School Committee of Cambridge, Mass., has approved a motion to include media literacy among the district’s list of fundamental skills, with the finding that “being an informed, effective community member in the 21st century requires critical thinking as well as the ability to discern reliable information sources.”

“We applaud the action of Cambridge, and encourage other school districts to follow Cambridge’s leadership to ensure all students have a chance to learn the essential life skills that media literacy represents,” said Erin McNeill, founder and CEO of Media Literacy Now.

Member Rachel Weinstein, who was lead author of the resolution, said, “Contrary to when most of us at the table were in school, more and more of the content of education, the facts and the functions, people can do on their smartphones,” and so the ability to discern what is credible and what is not is “the skill that’s needed more than anything.”

Mayor Denise Simmons said, “When I think of how our young people get their information … very often students don’t have the skillset to go and dive deep. … To have this opportunity to learn that skill is going to serve them so far into the future.” 

Co-sponsor Richard Harding added, “We are in a time where this particular skill is critical. I think we should incorporate it into what we do every day. One doesn’t need to imagine how dangerous some of this stuff can be when people are accepting of and acting on misinformation as if it’s real.” 

The fundamental skills policy states: “The business of the schools is to equip all children with the skills, tools, and attitudes that will lay the basis for learning now and in the future. This means giving the highest priority to developing skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and solving numerical problems. This also means prioritizing the instruction of how to access, analyze, and evaluate information in written and digital media.”

One stimulus for introducing the resolution was the recent Media Literacy Now report,Learning to find trustworthy scientific information, which Ms. Weinstein shared with the School Superintendent before introducing the motion. It became clear to Ms. Weinstein that learning to find trustworthy information is a competency needed not only for science but in all disciplines.


Share This Story!