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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Teach knowledge to fight ‘fake’ facts

“Media literacy” — teaching students to distinguish between “fake” news, propaganda, hype and reliable information — is all the rage, reports CNN.

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The New York Times looks at a Brooklyn middle school where teachers help students analyze “whether an article or a video is real — and if it is real, whether it is, for example, a news story or an advertisement made to look like a news report.”

Teachers can fight “fake facts” by teaching real facts, writes Matthew Levey, founder and CEO of International Charter School, in the New York Daily News.

Progressive educators “worried that facts can be divisive, condition teachers to offer feel-good notions like tolerance — with little foundation in the often uncomfortable realities of history,” he writes.

Dodging arguments about the complicated histories and relative importance of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. or Ronald Reagan, we teach little beyond superficialities. We say we’re teaching kids to think critically. That’s bogus. To meaningfully criticize, one has to know something about the subject first.

That last sentence is worth repeating: “To meaningfully criticize, one has to know something about the subject first.”

If you don’t know anything — except how you feel — you have no way to tell what makes sense and what’s nonsense. You have no context.

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