Some Schools In US Adding New Civics Course On How To Spot Fake News

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 16, 04:00 am
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As the White House wants to clamp down on fake news, even teachers and other government leaders are doing something about it in their cities.
(Photo : Win McNamee/Getty Images )

Some schools in America are adding a new civics course in its curriculum in light of a recent alarming trend online. Teachers are making an effort to guide students on how to spot fake news, but even government leaders are taking steps.

Lawmakers in California have filed an education legislation, under Assembly Bill 155, that will teach students media literacy in middle and high schools. The move is expected to help students become more discerning in picking out what's credible information or not on the internet.

"I think only education can solve this problem," Professor Pat Winters Lauro said, according to Yahoo. Lauro has started teaching media literacy and spotting fake news at the Kean University in New Jersey this semester.

Lauro also admitted the course on how to spot fake news has its added challenge because teachers toe the line between educating and not pushing an agenda. "I'm afraid sometimes that they think I'm being political when really I'm just talking about journalistic standards for facts and verification," the teacher said.

There's reason to be alarmed with the amount of fake news online. A study from the Pew Research Center cites 64 percent of Americans believe the fake news breed confusion. There's a need to teach students how to spot fake news as a Stanford study suggested 80 percent of kids have trouble detecting non-credible news.

Belief that fake news causes confusion shared widely

Most Americans get their news from social media, prompting others to blame Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, for the spread of fake news. The Verge reports that in response, the social media site has allowed third-party plugins that Facebook members can use to block or flag down false information.

The company wants its users to be more responsible in what they share on their newsfeed. "We are making a very important point of not putting ourselves in a position of deciding what's fake and not fake," Facebook VP Dan Rose told The Verge.

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