NJ Becomes First State to Require Class on Information Literacy
On January 4, 2023, Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law which requires all public students in K-12 to learn about information literacy. The Department of Education will need to include learning standards for all grades which address topics like using critical thinking and differentiating between fact and opinion. New Jersey is the first state to adopt such a law for all grade levels.
“It is our responsibility to ensure our nation’s future leaders are equipped with the tools necessary to identify fact from fiction," Murphy said in a statement.
The bill came to him with strong bipartisan support, co-sponsored by five Republicans and eight Democrats. It passed the NJ Senate with unanimous support, 36-0.
The new law directs the State Department of Education to develop learning standards which address, at a minimum:
1) the research process and how information is created and produced;
2) critical thinking and using information resources;
3) research methods, including the difference between primary and secondary sources;
4) the difference between facts, points of view, and opinions;
5) accessing peer-reviewed print and digital library resources;
6) the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and
7) the ethical production of information.
“Teaching children about information literacy will help them to weigh the flood of news, opinion, and social media they are exposed to both online and off,” said Senator Michael Testa (R). “This law isn’t about teaching kids that any specific idea is true or false, rather it’s about helping them learn how to research, evaluate, and understand the information they are presented for themselves.”