Despite college costs going down and wages going up, it's still difficult for students to "work their way" through college. Students should weigh work hours with study time to find the right balance for them.
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- Elizabeth Renter
For the past few years, the out-of-pocket costs for attending a public four-year college have decreased and minimum wages have risen in many states. While you might think these shifts should make it easier for students to work their way through college, it would still take a herculean effort — adding a full-time job (or...
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A hip replacement is a common medical procedure for millions of people.
- Ben Weingarten | RealClearWire
New Jersey is enlisting public-school teachers and librarians to show children how to combat what it calls the grave threat of disinformation. “Our democracy remains under sustained attack through the proliferation of disinformation,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in signing the nation’s first law mandating “information literacy” instruction for all K-12 students. The law, which aims to provide students with the “critical thinking” skills necessary to differentiate between “facts, points of view, and opinions” will, Murphy proclaimed, ensure “that our kids … possess the skills needed to discern fact from fiction.” At a time when the nation’s political and thought leaders are wrestling over the meaning of facts and truth, and distinctions between disinformation, misinformation and plain old information, the New Jersey bill is part of a growing effort to have teachers tell students how to settle these questions. Since 2016, ten states controlled by Democratic legislators, and three run by Republicans, have passed “media literacy” laws. Demand for media literacy education has seemingly grown in the “fake news” age, buoying bills like New Jersey’s, which had languished for years, only to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support. Media literacy advocates such as Erin McNeill, President of Media Literacy Now, say the goal is to teach students “how to consume information, not what information to consume.” But other educational experts see information and media literacy as inherently political, or minimally ripe for politicization. The “guise of ‘media literacy,’” writes John Sailer, a senior fellow at the National Association of Scholars, “often functions as a trojan horse, casting certain political views” – conservative ones, say critics – “as prima facie wrong and biased.” The progressive politics of those backing information and media literacy bills in some states give skeptics further pause – concerns heightened by rhetoric like that of Gov. Murphy, who framed New Jersey’s bill as responsive to the “violent insurrection” of Jan. 6, 2021.Related: The Disinformation-Industrial Complex vs. Domestic Terror RCIJoshua Aikens, a Republican candidate for the New Jersey assembly and former chairman of AriseNJ, an advocacy group focused on electing school board members, told RCI he believes the bill will “be politically weaponized” to target “young impressionable minds.” Republicans in Delaware and Illinois largely opposed media literacy bills that passed in their states on similar grounds. Still others question the policy push on its merits. Robert Pondiscio, a former public-school teacher who is a senior fellow at the center-right American Enterprise Institute, sees media literacy as one of many “tips and tricks” educators tout that skirts a more fundamental issue: Children suffer from a “base-knowledge problem,” lacking command of rudimentary facts necessary to analyze content. One long-time New Jersey public-school teacher, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said of the state’s bill: “Media literacy? There is no reading literacy in 80 percent of urban schools.” Nevertheless, at least seven states Red and Blue are currently considering media literacy legislation aimed at children. Such efforts are occurring as Democratic Senators – sometimes joined by their Republican colleagues – work to include media literacy in proposed federal laws. The Biden administration has embedded media literacy not only in proposed education regulations, but codified it in national security policy, arguing that disinformation threatens the homeland. “If the U.S. military has recognized the importance of improving media literacy training,” McNeill, a veteran, told RCI, “it makes sense to ensure our children are developing these skills as well.”
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