Washington state takes up media literacy, digital citizenship bill

Action for Media Education

The Action for Media Education team meeting with legislators. From left, Marilyn Cohen, Nick Pernisco, Rep. Strom Peterson, Sen. Marko Liias, Claire Beach, Linda Kennedy, Barbara Johnson, Lilia Cabelo, Michael Danielson.

Claire Beach and her team from Action for Media Education in Seattle are thrilled to announce introduction of legislation to raise media literacy as a priority in the state’s public schools.

The team worked with state Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood), state Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo), and state Rep. Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds) to craft a bill that has strong support from leadership. The process involved many long hours of work and months of planning among the advocates, legislators and staff. The sponsors told Ms. Beach they are very excited to bring this important policy to the legislature, and worked diligently to bring on 15 co-sponsors, including House and Senate leaders.

The bill would require each school district to provide education that includes digital and media literacy, awareness of safe technology use, and digital citizenship.

From the bill:
The legislature recognizes that as technology becomes more prevalent, students must learn how to thoughtfully, ethically, and responsibly use technology. The legislature intends to provide a process in which students, parents or guardians, teachers and other school employees, administrators, volunteers, and community representatives will engage in an ongoing discussion on safe technology use and digital citizenship.

Senate bill 6273 was introduced Jan. 13 along with 8 co-sponsors and the companion House Bill 2595 was introduced the next day with 7 co-sponsors. The Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education will hold a hearing Monday. We expect to hear more soon, as the Washington legislative session ends in March.

Go here to learn more and take action now.


2016-11-29T16:59:58+00:00January 17th, 2016|News, Washington|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Tom Reid January 18, 2016 at 3:39 pm


    Thanks for congratulating my good friend Claire Beach on her important work in the state of Washington. On Martin Luther King Day, I thought I would pass on a link to a wonderful essay written in 1947 by Dr. King, who saw the need for education that would help young people develop critical thinking skills to help them analyze messages and value statements of all kinds. It’s a wonderful vision of the kind of teaching that Claire and I and many other Media Literacy teachers throughout the country have been doing our best to offer our students for years. It’s even more important in this era of high-stakes testing and for-profit companies selling curricula to schools that this ideal, the concept that education should focus on helping individual students develop their own analytical abilities and examine their own values, should be celebrated, as you do in your work.

    Thank you,

    Tom Reid
    Media Literacy Teacher
    Swampscott High School
    Swampscott, MA

    Here are some excerpts from Dr. King’s essay, followed by a link to the entire piece:

    It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.

    Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.

    The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals. We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.


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