Bill Update, News

We did it! Final passage of Washington state bill, just one more step before it becomes law

Crossposted from Media Literacy Now.


The Washington state Senate concurred with the House-passed media literacy bill by a vote of 47-0 last week. We are very pleased with the outcome of the legislative process in Washington, which has been a positive and collaborative effort among policymakers, educators and advocates.

Media Literacy Now has been working with Action for Media Education president Claire Beach for several years on policy strategies, and we are delighted to have helped Beach and her team to see this process through.

There is, however, one more hurdle. The bill requires the governor’s signature to become law. Currently, due to budgetary battles, the governor is holding off on signing bills and has vetoed some that have a financial impact. We expect that the bill will ultimately go into effect.

Read more at Media Literacy Now

Bill Update, News

Press Release: Digital citizenship/media literacy bill awaits Governor’s signature


4616 25th Ave NE,
#310, Seattle, WA 98105

March 11, 2016

Linda Kennedy 206-799-4321
Lynn Ziegler 360-930-3044/ 360-204-8674

Digital Citizenship/Media Literacy Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

The Digital Citizenship /Media Literacy bill address the growing public concern regarding the way our children use media screens and what the screens teach children about the world.

Sponsored by Senator Marko Liias (D, Lynnwood), the bill establishes a process to ensure ongoing discussion and action at both the state and local school district levels. It stresses that our children must learn how to safely, ethically, responsibly, and effectively use technology.

“Our schools can and must play a leading role in teaching students to become safe, principled users of digital resources in an increasingly complex communications environment,” said Senator Liias.

Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will work with an advisory group to identify best instructional practices and develop a set of recommendations on digital citizenship, Internet safety, and media literacy. Beginning in 2017-18, school districts will be required to annually review their policies and procedures on electronic resources and Internet safety and to consider OSPI recommendations.

Seattle-based nonprofit Action for Media Education (AME) proposed the bill. AME’s mission throughout its 25 year history has been to foster and promote digital and media literacy for children and the citizenry at large. AME president, Claire Beach, says the need for this bill has never been greater. According to a recent study, teenagers use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day and tweens (ages 8-12) use an average of six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework. (Common Sense Media, 2015). Many of our children spend more time in front of screens than with any other activity besides, perhaps, sleeping.

“In this 21st century, our definition of literacy must be expanded to include digital and media literacy education,” said Marilyn Cohen, Director of the NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy at the University of Washington.

Though digital communications have had many positive influences on the world, parents and educators have expressed concerns. Cyberbullying and sub-tweeting, for example, occur at alarming rates and can have devastating results. Media can create false realities. Children do not have the years or the sophistication to understand and process all the material exposed to them. Digital and media literacy are essential 21st century skills which help students navigate the world. Media literacy teaches them to recognize stereotypes and bias; it teaches them to look for what is left out of the message; and to ethically and responsibly use the tools given to them.

Stay tuned…

View the official AME press release.

Bill Update, News

Washington State bill clears another major hurdle

Crossposted from Media Literacy Now.

On Tuesday, the Washington state House of Representatives approved by a vote of 94 to 3 the media literacy bill being shepherded through the legislative process by Action for Media Education in partnership with Media Literacy Now.

Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D), chair of the House Education Committee, said to her colleagues on the House floor, “Recognizing that this is a new age, our children are using [media] in a way that we never before could have imagined. It is about time our policies evolved to meet this new reality that our students engage every day.”

The ranking minority member of the House Education Committee, Rep. Chad Magendanz (R) said, “There’s a whole bunch of dangers out there in social media and kids learning by the school of hard knocks. There’s not adequate support from teachers, because we adults know even less. This bill is a great step forward to ensure we have good professional development in place to train teachers, so that we can follow thru with the next step, which is to have informed teachers train kids about how to behave responsibly online.”

The House-passed bill must now be reconciled with the Senate-passed bill before the legislation can go to the governor’s desk.

For more information, see Washington state legislative page.


Bill Update, News

Washington State Senate approves media literacy bill

Crossposted from Media Literacy Now.

We launched Media Literacy Now to put media literacy on the public policy agenda. Today, we reached a major milestone in Washington State when state Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) spoke to his colleagues about media literacy and digital citizenship on the floor of the state senate.

“The pace of information, the pace of data, the pace of what our students are being exposed to is rising exponentially…Our students need help navigating this digital landscape,” Liias said. “This bill (S 6273) will start the process of better embedding digital citizenship and media literacy into our state schools.”

He was joined by Sen. Steve Litzow, (R-Bellevue), the chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, in calling for the senators’ support.

The bill passed, 48-0.

Clare Beach, president of Action for Media Education, our partners in Washington, said the group is thrilled to be celebrating their 25th anniversary year with this legislative success. “The prospect of the next generation of children having these conversations, from kindergarten, about mass media messages that tell them who they are and how they should be – it just makes me very happy.”

The bill now moves to the Washington state House of Representatives for consideration.

Watch the floor debate here . (Video will start at 46:30)

Members of Washington House Education Committee listen raptly to testimony from Action for Media Education members in February.
Members of Washington House Education Committee listen raptly to testimony from Action for Media Education members in February.
Bill Update, News

Washington state takes up media literacy, digital citizenship bill

Crossposted from Media Literacy Now.

Claire Beach and her team from Action for Media Education in Seattle are thrilled to announce introduction of legislation to raise media literacy as a priority in the state’s public schools.

The team worked with state Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood), state Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo), and state Rep. Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds) to craft a bill that has strong support from leadership. The process involved many long hours of work and months of planning among the advocates, legislators and staff. The sponsors told Ms. Beach they are very excited to bring this important policy to the legislature, and worked diligently to bring on 15 co-sponsors, including House and Senate leaders.

The bill would require each school district to provide education that includes digital and media literacy, awareness of safe technology use, and digital citizenship.

From the bill:
The legislature recognizes that as technology becomes more prevalent, students must learn how to thoughtfully, ethically, and responsibly use technology. The legislature intends to provide a process in which students, parents or guardians, teachers and other school employees, administrators, volunteers, and community representatives will engage in an ongoing discussion on safe technology use and digital citizenship.

Senate bill 6273 was introduced Jan. 13 along with 8 co-sponsors and the companion House Bill 2595 was introduced the next day with 7 co-sponsors. The Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education will hold a hearing Monday. We expect to hear more soon, as the Washington legislative session ends in March.

Go here to learn more and take action now.

State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) spoke to his colleagues about media literacy and digital citizenship on the floor of the state senate.
State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) spoke to his colleagues about media literacy and digital citizenship on the floor of the state senate.
Bill Update, News, Take Action

Washington State to introduce media literacy: Take action now

Crossposted from Media Literacy Now.

Thanks to the work of Claire Beach and her team at Action 4 Media Education in Seattle, Washington, lawmakers there are preparing to offer legislation to help schools teach safe technology use and digital citizenship, a critical, urgently needed subset of media literacy education. Currently the team is seeking help to gather cosponsors before the bill is introduced in January.

“Senator Marko Illias and Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self and Representative Strom Peterson have been very helpful and so enthusiastic about our media literacy initiative,” Claire said. “They were pleased that we were able to offer so much expertise on the subject. All three of them are very excited to introduce this bill. They told us they welcome constituents to bring them good policy ideas, but it’s rare.”

If you live in Washington, please go to the web page to find out how you can take action. Or forward this notice to your acquaintances in that Northwest state.