For decades, American high schools have been graduating kids who have never had the benefit of being trained in critical thinking. It may be never more important than today with the influx of political corruption and “fake news.”
One Ohio School has finally stepped up and brought something of benefit to their students.
PJ Media reported this:
The Internet and social media receive much of the blame for fake news and its effect on our civil discourse. But is it really that difficult to recognize fake news from real news? More importantly, is it something that can be taught? Or is really just a matter of consumer partisanship or laziness?
Kristin Schnerer, a Toledo, Ohio, social studies teacher at Start High School, believes it can be taught. She developed a “Media and Politics” course for juniors and seniors with the goal of developing skills in students to help them tell the difference between fact and fiction. The official class goal is:
“To enable students to gain the skills needed to critically analyze the news media’s portrayal of important current and historical events, and to better understand the news media’s impact on public policy at federal, state and local levels of government.”
Course objectives and other details can be found on the Toledo Board of Education’s website.
And just to ensure this isn’t another course in social engineering:
However, to be successful, teachers like Schnerer must go beyond simple fact-finding and verification and include contextual integration of the facts. For example, one possible definition of fake news is:
“Fake news is a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation, be it via the traditional news media or via social media, with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically.”
Not emphasized in the definition is that fake news, when examined in parts, can be 100% correct but still fake.
A recent example of this was President Trump’s actions regarding Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys. In one article, Josh Gerstein used the word “ousts” in the headline in reference to Trump’s actions, even though Gerstein used “replaces” in an earlier article in reference to President Obama doing the same thing. If you examined both articles you might find that both articles are factually correct, but you should also conclude the news was fake, because Gerstein was trying to mislead readers by implying that Trump’s actions were somewhat irregular, illegal, or tyrannical.
What a novel idea. The educational system actually teaching kids to think, independently.