It has become increasingly apparent that media literacy is a necessary skill that far too many people lack. Ongoing debates about fake news, the legitimacy of social media as a news distribution platform and incredibly low voter turnout in the United States should all raise alarm in this community. In the digital age, learning how to keep informed about current events and sift through the falsehoods designed to generate online revenue is a vital skill.
In the opinion of The Campanile, it is in Paly’s best interest, as well as the interests of PAUSD, to promote the incorporation of current events into curriculum.
Currently, some teachers include discussions about news and current events into their lessons, but whether any given student gets to learn in such an environment is entirely dependent on which teacher they are assigned. Between different periods and teachers of the same curriculum, the emphasis placed on current events varies wildly. This inconsistency exists outside of honors or AP classes, which further muddies the waters. Some, such as AP Environmental Science, include current events in a commendable fashion. Others, regrettably, do not.
A skill as important as media literacy should not be taught randomly, depending entirely on which class a student is assigned to.
The solution would be fairly simple. Any class that covers a topic that receives regular news coverage, such as a science or history course, ought to devote a few minutes every class period to discuss a recent development in that field. This would teach students about the impact of local events on our community, as well as the larger impacts of national or international events. It would broaden the perspectives of our student body, encourage intellectual diversity and help students develop the habit of staying informed, while the habits that will govern how they live for the rest of their life are being formed.
Ultimately, it is the job of a high school to prepare its students for the rest of their academic and professional lives. In the opinion of The Campanile, the small sacrifice of a few minutes every week is more than worth it to ensure Paly’s students are more well-rounded and educated. One of high school’s most valuable functions is creating engaged and informed citizens. If our students aren’t taught the value of informing themselves and keeping up to date with their communities, their nation and the world in which they live, can it truly be said that this school is educating them to the best of their ability?