(The Center Square) – State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, a Democrat, has filed a new bill that would amend the state’s school code and would include a media literacy unit in computer literacy curriculum for public high school students.
House Bill 234 would require school districts to add media literacy instruction to computer literacy curriculum. State Sen. Karina Villa, a Democrat and chief Senate sponsor for the amended measure, told the Education Committee that while students are online more than ever, they are still vulnerable to misinformation.
“The internet has become the main public square for young people, they debate and discuss politics and news but are also vulnerable to miss information,” Villa said.
State Rep. Adam Niemerg, a Republican, opposes House Bill 234. He called it an “anti-Trump, anti-conservative” reactionary bill, which he said is an attempt by the left “to get into our school systems at a young age and teach them the means of mainstream media.”
The bill has nine co-sponsors and has been placed on the calendar for a second reading. If House Bill 234 is passed, it would go into effect immediately.
The Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Association of School Library Educators along with dozens of schools have filed witness slips in support of the measure.
The Illinois Education Association, a union that represents more than 135,000 members including teachers, did not take a position on the bill, according to witness slips. The Illinois State Board of Education also did not take a position.