Senator Jackson's Bill to Teach Students How to Spot Fake News Passes Key Committee

March 14, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s (D-Santa Barbara) legislation to ensure students in California’s public schools learn how to read media sources critically, and act ethically, responsibly, and safely online passed the Senate Education Committee today. The vote was 4-2.

Senate Bill 947 establishes a process for students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and educators to create strategies for ensuring that digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy become part of the state’s basic educational goals and learning requirements.

While technology holds great promise for enhancing how children learn, given the anonymity that allows people to act irresponsibly without consequence, young people need support and training on how to make sound judgments when navigating their digital world, particularly when it comes to cyberbullying, sexting, privacy, digital footprints, and fake news.

“The recent proliferation of fake news online is extremely concerning. As we witnessed in the 2016 election, fake news can serve as an intentional tool to manipulate the public and undermine our basic values,” said Senator Jackson. “In this era of cyberbullying, internet trolls, and rampant misinformation, it is our responsibility to equip young people with the knowledge and tools they need to stay informed and safe online.”

This bill establishes a state-based advisory committee comprised of educators, administrators, researchers, and parents who will work under the oversight of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop best practices, resources, and models for instruction.  Among other things, this advisory group will help develop strategies for school districts to implement this instructional tool, including professional development and training for educators and administrators.

SB 947 is supported by Common Sense Kids Action. “With an educator community of more than 300,000 teachers, Common Sense supports kids and families as they navigate the digital age. We are in full support of Senator Jackson's SB 947, which will ultimately empower students to make ethical choices when it comes to technology use. By identifying best practices for the teaching of digital citizenship in K-12 schools, SB 947 is an important first step in establishing a statewide curriculum for kids in today's connected world,” said Elizabeth Galicia, Vice President of Common Sense Kids Action.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.