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Jan. 13, 2017 – Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, AD 51, introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 155 to address what has now been described as “fake news.”  Designed to ensure that upcoming generations of online readers possess the analytical skills needed to spot fake news, the bill would direct the Instructional Quality Commission to develop and adopt curriculum standards and frameworks that incorporate civic online reasoning, for English Language Arts, Mathematics, History, Social Science, and Science.

“Recently, we have seen the corrupting effects of a deliberate propaganda campaign driven by fake news.  When fake news is repeated, it becomes difficult for the public to discern what’s real.  These attempts to mislead readers pose a direct threat to our democracy.   AB 155 will call for educators to incorporate civic online reasoning into their high school curricula.  Such a curriculum will prepare Californians to recognize the difference between news intended to inform and fake news intended to mislead,” said Assemblymember Gomez.

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A recent study by Stanford’s Graduate School of Education has shown that the inability to distinguish fake news from real news is particularly pronounced among young people.  Young people tend to accept information as it’s presented, rarely questioning where the news originated or verifying its content.  According to the study, young people struggle to differentiate between nested advertising—an increasingly common type of advertising that tries to sell or promote a product by posing as a news article—from real news stories.

The inability of young people to distinguish real news from fake news makes them less informed about important civic issues and poses a direct threat to our democracy. We need to take steps to prepare students to be as accurately informed as they can be in an increasingly misleading online world.

Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez represents the 51st Assembly District which includes the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods of Echo Park, Mission Junction, Historic Filipinotown, Chinatown, Glassell Park, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, El Sereno, Highland Park, Mt. Washington, Lincoln Heights, City Terrace, Elysian Valley, Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, portion of Silverlake, and unincorporated East Los Angeles.