TRENTON – New Jersey schools would have to teach information literacy in all grades, under a bill up for a vote Thursday in the Assembly that has already been unanimously approved by the Senate.
The bipartisan bill (S588/A4169) wouldn’t make it to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk this week even if the Assembly approves it, as the plan underwent two sets of amendments and would need to return for a concurring vote in the Senate.
Advocates for the bill say it’s needed to help discern which online sources are trustworthy.
“Information literacy is one of the most important, vital skills we can be teaching students right now,” said New Jersey Education Association lobbyist Francine Pfeffer at an Assembly committee hearing last month. “We see what’s going on around us, and students really need this skill.”
Mary Moyer Stubbs, a consultant with the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, said students should be taught how to effectively search for, access, evaluate and use resources – especially ones found online.
“New Jersey has committed to providing computer devices for students but not to teaching them how to safely use those devices,” Stubbs said. “That is what you are doing when you are giving computer devices to students and telling them to figure it out and just Google it.”
New Jersey’s curriculum standards include references to media literacy but would get a specific focus under the bill, which directs the Department of Education to update them with help from school library media specialists.
Olga Polites, the New Jersey chapter leader of Media Literacy Now, who recently retired from the Lenape Regional High School District, said she enjoys her Twitter account but it’s not the same reliable source for news as The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“It’s important for us to be able to make those distinctions,” Polites said. “Otherwise, the students in K-to-12 education today are going to turn into those adults who use Nyquil to marinate their chicken.”
Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.
Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.
If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.
You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.
Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: