Information Literacy?

 

If you believe that the earth is flat, that space aliens built the pyramids, or that the Apollo moon landings were filmed on a Hollywood movie set, you will be able to find plenty of articles online supporting your opinions. Does that mean it is all true? Of course not, but it does show that you should use some caution while doing research online. To help kids better distinguish between fact and fiction online, the state of New Jersey has passed a new law requiring mandatory “K-12 Information Literacy Education.”

While this may sound fine on the surface, I think there are some good reasons to have reservations about this program. Recently, we have seen the government trying, often successfully, to censor views that they don’t like. Could this just be a partisan effort to discourage kids from learning things outside of the governments chosen narrative? The official press release from Governor Phil Murphy’s office says, “as we approach the two-year anniversary of the January 6th attack on the US Capitol. It is incredibly important that our children are taught how to discern reliable sources and recognize false information.” It does seem interesting that this is the example they chose to go with.

When trying to determine which sources are the most reliable, what will they tell kids to rely on? Your mainstream TV networks and newspapers all reported on a Russian collusion story that turned out to be false. They told us with certainty that the Hunter Biden laptop story was “Russian disinformation” when a little research could have proven that false. Will the new NJ program tell you that the tabloid, the New York Post, and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani were the more reliable and trustworthy sources in this case?

When COVID vaccines came out, we were told they were both safe and effective. Now it seemed pretty obvious to me that the safety of something brand new is unknown. But people who questioned the safety and/or effectiveness were labeled as kooks by the more established media types. Olga Polites of the New Jersey chapter leader of Media Literacy Now said, “I love my Twitter, but I love my Philadelphia Inquirer more.” On the issue of vaccines, who had the better take, the Philadelphia Inquirer or some guy like Robert Malone on Twitter? Malone is a doctor who did extensive work with mRNA vaccines.

The fact is, there are often times when we don’t know the truth. Remember being told that you can’t get COVID if you are vaccinated And that vaccinated people can’t spread the virus to others? Sometimes more research is needed.  Rather than encouraging students to have an open mind and see where the data leads, I fear this program will want students to rely on one mainstream narrative and discourage people from questioning that point of view.  Last year the Federal government tried to set up a Disinformation Governance Board (aka, Ministry of Truth). I can’t help but think that what New Jersey is trying to do with this program is to create a more close-minded and compliant public.  I don’t trust them.

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There are 13 comments.

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  1. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Vance Richards: I don’t trust them.

    Nailed it.

    • #1
  2. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Haven’t we confirmed based on validated evidence that many public schools teach from false or politically distorted information?

    • #2
  3. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    I don’t really care if people believe the earth is flat or the moon landings were fake. They usually exhibit a remarkable ability to think for themselves and defend their positions, which the narrative pushers demonstrably cannot do.

    I don’t care if they are wrong, there are worse things than disbelieving the government.

    • #3
  4. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    It’s not like information was never reviewed and cross-checked before.  But in the days before the Internet, vetting information fell to publishers and librarians.  And like most things, decentralised efforts by many different private entities produced a fairly good result.   The problem is that the NJ effort is centralised in the hands of politicians who are – by definition – partisan and biased.  The results will be partisan and biased as well.

    • #4
  5. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    It’s not like information was never reviewed and cross-checked before. But in the days before the Internet, vetting information fell to publishers and librarians. And like most things, decentralised efforts by many different private entities produced a fairly good result. The problem is that the NJ effort is centralised in the hands of politicians who are – by definition – partisan and biased. The results will be partisan and biased as well.

    Did they have an axe to grind, or were they more inclined to accept results they weren’t totally happy with?  

    • #5
  6. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    It’s not like information was never reviewed and cross-checked before. But in the days before the Internet, vetting information fell to publishers and librarians. And like most things, decentralised efforts by many different private entities produced a fairly good result. The problem is that the NJ effort is centralised in the hands of politicians who are – by definition – partisan and biased. The results will be partisan and biased as well.

    I think this comment goes more or less directly to the problem. Modern social media platforms, all emerging in the hands and control of novices in the modern world and then converging with a corrupt Obama Administration that cooperated with a corrupted  intelligence community that was basically in control of information flows, then followed by a surprise Trump Populist-oriented Administration that threatened to upset the applecart, gave us a bizarro world where most public information is not to be believed on its face.

    • #6
  7. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Get rid of compulsory schooling and the problem of “mandatory K-12” propaganda goes away. Or, at least, becomes tractable. 

    • #7
  8. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Our children were in high school as the internet was exploding as a research tool (early 2000s). One of our son’s teachers insisted the students should not trust any information from a “dot com” site (because commercial sites were driven by evil profit), but should trust information from any “dot org” site (because as not-for-profit they were driven only by their love for the good of humanity). Our son immediately saw this as nuts. He had already seen enough to know that every site, for-profit, not-for-profit, educational, government, or other, had its biases and priorities. 

    • #8
  9. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The vast bulk of everything that ‘everybody knows’ about climate, diet, sex, COVID, environment, and much else is complete crap.  The Narrative masquerades as science, reason, rigorous logic and fact when it has become the enemy of all of that.

    • #9
  10. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Will these kids be taught about Russian Collusion?

    Mostly peaceful protests?

    The origins of Covid-19?

    How the Local/Federal government used a pandemic to grab power and control?

    How the permanent bureaucracy works against the citizens?

    • #10
  11. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

     

    @saintaugustine

    The mission statement is clear: young students should be learning how to differentiate the false from the true. Of course, sending them off to learn specifics about the thought process that no doubt will include an abundance of WOKE concepts is certainly not the answer.

    What might be? Perhaps those who claim to value discernment of the true from the false should consider the following:

    I have no idea what discussions led to my dad’s very public, very excellent grammar and HS education. But the city fathers seemed to have learned from their own studies, no doubt framed by the classics, as well as by rote memorization, and of course including reading, writing and arithmetic at a level that would probably embarrass most college professors who deal with their schools’ incoming freshmen.

    By age 15, FY 1927 my dad  had learned the key elements of poetics, rhetoric, dialectics and also arguments’ logical  construction to master the world of debate.

    This happened inside a Chicago public school system.

    By 1965, I was attending a Chicago Catholic HS where I was taught the same approach for the development of my mind. The big difference was that my folks had to shell out a bit over $ 400 a year for my educational experience. (Perhaps that would be $4,500 in today’s dollars?)

    Until we return to a world in which a sound  educational system is based upon demonstrated sound  logical development, we will continue to be run into the ground by the Marxists and their planned theft – fully underway for the last 40 years – of the best young minds of our nation.

     

    • #11
  12. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    It’s not like information was never reviewed and cross-checked before. But in the days before the Internet, vetting information fell to publishers and librarians. And like most things, decentralised efforts by many different private entities produced a fairly good result. The problem is that the NJ effort is centralised in the hands of politicians who are – by definition – partisan and biased. The results will be partisan and biased as well.

    Actually the review of any and all information was dependent on the workings of the minds of the American citizenry -whose education at one time included years’ worth of instruction in logical thinking.

    Librarians might help if asked, but who would know how to ask if not taught the basics of reasoning about subjects coming into their info download of teachers, books, radio, and TV?

    Nothing can replace the wondrous world of former curricula for HS students, which demanded that a full year be spent on the following: a full year on poetics, a full year on rhetoric, a full year on dialectics, with Year Four being a summary of how to integrate all 3 approaches to thinking  through students writing essays  and  learning the world of debate. (See reply # 11 for more.)

    • #12
  13. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Teaching kids research skills, argumentation, logic, and how to identify rhetoric vs dialectic would be a much better use of teaching tools than teaching them which facts are true and which ones are not.

    This is the only method of education that is ideologically blind.

    • #13
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