SECTION 1. The second paragraph of section 1 of chapter 71 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding, at the end, thereof, the following sentence: -
The department of elementary and secondary education shall encourage school districts to implement instruction in news media literacy skills at all grade levels, and in any of the core subjects or other subjects, to equip students with the knowledge and skills for accessing, analyzing, evaluating, and creating all types of news media, including print, online, television, and social media.
SECTION 2. Section 2 of chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 edition, is hereby amended by adding at the end thereof, the following paragraph :-
The department shall implement a required project in civics participation, also known as action civics, for all students at least once in elementary school and at least once in high school. The department shall also implement an assessment designed to measure the civics learning objectives recommended by the Civic Learning and Engagement Task Force and adopted by the department at least once in elementary school and at least once in high school. Said assessment shall enable students to demonstrate understanding and relevance in civics and related topics, which may include: public policy; the structure of federal, state and local governments; the United States and Commonwealth constitutions; and the act of civic participation. The department may seek the assistance of outside organizations and experts in the field of civics education to assist with the implementation of said project and assessment of civics learning.
SECTION 3. The commissioner shall develop criteria and guidelines for a certificate in Advanced Civics Skills to be awarded by school districts to recognize high school graduates who have met academic benchmarks determined by the department in the subject of civics. The department shall promulgate regulations creating a certification in Action Civics, for educators that demonstrate competency in teaching civics to, and the civics skills of, students.
SECTION 4. Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, the department of elementary and secondary education shall establish a pilot program for school districts to utilize and test a curriculum on news media literacy created by the department. Said program shall be voluntary and shall be used to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching news media literacy in schools, with the ultimate goal of requiring news media literacy be taught in all schools across the commonwealth.
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