Notes: Law and Civic Education Summer Institute in Manhattan (7/13/17) Fake News / Real Students

       Law and Civic Education Summer Institute                                            
July 13, 2017 

Session I: News Literacy Workshop
Janice Schachter
Center for News Literacy

What is News Literacy? – the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports, whether they come via print, television, the internet or SOCIAL MEDIA (usually Social Media)

In the Information Age, YOU are in charge of determining what is reliable… & what is not.
·       Wikipedia - has nots of sourcing
·       Snopes.com – great fact checking resource, not google
·       Associated Press
·       Reddit
·       Chrome Extension – “Read Across The Aisle” – color codes push “news”
·       Google “incognito” – search not based on previous searches

How do you create a safe space? Where everyone carries around biases, prejudices…
-        Project Implicate – Harvard Bias Study – to find out what your biases are (fun game to show students)
-        Use Ave Q Song – “Everyone’s a little Bit Racist”

Challenges for empowered consumers in the Digital Age:
·                Information overload
·                Speed vs accuracy
·                Blurring of the lines
·                Challenging our own bias

To be Journalism the information has to be:
·                Accountable – can you contact email address
·                Independent from the story – bias, transparency, not written by the source, parent company disclaimer
·                Verifiable – ex. Vice checks sources 3 times and say that on program

What is “truthiness”? (Stephen Colbert)
-        we usually go to sources that align with our own biases

How do we begin to evaluate websites? -  Search Tips
-        don’t go by rank, Clickbait – SEO
-        what’s “trending” doesn’t mean truth
-        look at domain names (its super easy to get a .com, .org, .net)
-        look at date
-        Reverse Image Search
-        Google with word “hoax”
-        How many followers on twitter
-        Use common sense

Deconstruction is Deconstruction:
1.      Summarize the main points, comparing headline of the story
2.     Summarize the reporter open the freezer? Is the evidence direct or indirect?
3.     Does the reporter place the facts, the story
4.     Who, what, where, when, & why???
5.     Is the story fair to the evidence? Is balance called for? What about fair play and language? “Fairness vs Balance" Ex.  Use the word – “said” while writing news stories. Better than  using “claims” or “alleged” or “advocated”as a verb for a quote.

Nmeumonic Device for evaluate sources: I-M-V-A-I-N
I -  Independent vs. self-interested sources
M - Multiple sources are better than single ones
V - Verifies vs. Asserts
A - Authoritative vs. Uniformed
I - Informed vs. Uniformed
N - Named vs. Unnamed

“Freezer” – did the reporter go as far as they do reasonably what they should have down?
-        Phrase related to the reporter that went to the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina b/c he heard people were murdering each other and they said the bodies were in the freezer, but he didn’t check the freezer and it wound up being incorrect

“Third Degree” – was a tactic used by NYPD to get confessions, lashing, torture

-        Phrase is used in a milder manner today

Special Guest Star:
VP of New York Bar Foundation
Mr. Ellis Mursky

Session II: Student Voice in the Digital Age
“Lessons from the Constitution & the Courts”
(Teaching history through case studies)
David Scott, Coordinator
Project P.A.T.C.H.

Video Presentation: (15 min)
A Tribute to Dr. Isadore Starr: “The Founding Father of Law-Related Education”
-      “The law is here, there, and everywhere.” – Isadore Starr
-        All students should graduate high school with an idea of what is:
-        Liberty, Justice, Property, & Equality – revolving around Power
-        Joseph McCarthy – created an atmosphere of fear & teachers were afraid to teach “controversy”
-        Articles re: teaching controversial Issues though studying supreme court decisions in public education: Social Education
-        Pioneer of Civics Education
-        Mock Court is great in the classroom taking on arguments

First Amendment freedom of speech, it’s a limitation on governmental power to censor you from expressing yourself, not a license to say whatever you want.

The 14th Amendment – as a teacher, we are upholding the rights and responsibilities as written the constitution
Another law to look up - 42UC1983

Landmark Student Freedom of Speech Supreme Court Cases

1. Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District (1968-1969 decision)
-                Free Speech precedent- First Amendment Rights were infringed upon
-        Decision: Student speech cannot be censored as long as it does not “materially disrupt class work or involve substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.”
-        Students have inalienable individual rights
-        Mary Beth (7th grade) & John Tinker (10th grade)
-        Parents were civil rights activists and dad was local pastor
-        Plan was to wear black arm bands to school protest the Vietnam War
-        Also supported Senator R. Kennedy’s call for a Christmas moratorium of fighting
-        Has been cited in over 1000 court cases
-        Majority Opinion says: “It can hardly be argued to that either teachers or students shed their constitutional rights to freedom or speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
-        U.S. Supreme court only takes 100 cased per term and took the case
-        The “Tinker Test(check this)
o   material disruption of class work
o   substantial disorder
o   invading the rights of others

There is a direct line of Civil Right Movement to laws regarding Students with Disabilities
2. The Fraser Standard
Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser (1986)
-        Fraser gets suspended for giving a sexualized campaign speech for VP of HS as a senior
-        ACLU lawyer - Now a Speech and Debate Coach
-        Applied Tinker Test – but added that free speech in school is protested but couldn’t be “vulgar, obscene sexual innuendo”
3. Morse v. Frederick
-       “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”
-        Argued 3/19/07 - Decided 6/25/07 – Juneau, Alaska
-        Students were permitted to leave class to go to a “school-sanctioned & supervised event” to watch the Olympic Torch pass through town
-        18-year-old student Joseph Frederick was late for school that day. He joined his friends on the sidewalk at the event. He saw it on snowboard and thought it would be funny.
-        He basically made the first amendment for the punchline for joke
-        Different Viewpoints:
o   Advocacy of illegal drug use not protected
o   Political speech remains protected
o   Justice Thomas wanted to reverse Tinker

4. Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
-        She tried to write an articles on (1) teen pregnancy and (2) divorce
-        Principal pulled the articles
-        ACLU lawyer sucked and evidence was left out, so she lost

*CONCLUSION: Internet Free Speech cases have never heard by Supreme Court: The courts have decided that the internet can build a nexus which is accountable to the Tinker Test
- Layshock v. Hermitage School District (PA) - Internet Based Free Speech, didn’t make it to
- Doninger v. Niehoff
-    Student made a slanderous posting on community blog which leads to suit b/c principal wouldn’t endorse/sign off on a candidate running for student body president to serve on student government 

DASA statute does not grant additional power to schools to oversee bullying – DASA says the school must:
-        report bullying and take steps to
-        fight it
-        have a component in school to combat bullying

“With great power, comes great responsibility.” - Uncle Ben Parker to Spiderman

Dave Scott’s Closing Thought:
“If we empower our students to use their voices responsibly, they can do great things!”



Walden PhD 1.0 - State Educational Standard Case Study - My position (1st pose)

For the purpose of this case study on issues related to the Common Core Standards I’m taking on the stakeholder role of a high school teacher in a Title I urban community school. My area of specialization is in Urban Adolescents with Learning Disabilities and I’ve decided to take on this viewpoint organically because I am here to advocate on behalf of the urban population which inspired me to become an educator in the first place. As an NYC high school teacher, I serve the needs of a diverse population of students in Title I schools.

According to the National Association for Education of Young Children,  the designation of Title I is “the foundation of the federal commitment to closing the achievement gap between low-income and other students. Nearly 14,000 of the 15,000 school districts in the nation conduct Title I programs.” Title I - Helping Disadvantaged Children Meet High Standards | National Association for the Education of Young Children | NAEYC," n.d.

First-hand, I’ve seen the trauma that both students and teachers are experiencing as they are both assessed using Common Core standards. Title I schools and the Special Needs students / ESL students who attend Title I schools are the most vulnerable to issues related to the Common Core Standards. There is a backlash against these standards and this is an extremely timely debate.

According to C. Burris as published in Principal's Last Advice: Let's Move Beyond the Rhetoric and Really Question the Common Core “Common Core is dying a slow death of a thousand cuts. Just recently in New York, the governor's task force came out with its Common Core report that called for an overhaul, with the Common Core being replaced by New York State standards. Now, how different they're going to be, we don't know. The task force expressed concern over the early childhood standards and the effect of the standards on special-needs kids and English-language learners.”  Common core at a crossroads. (2016, March). Principal Leadership, 16(7), 24+

With the emphasis placed on rigor and critical thinking, this educational paradigm shift associated with Common Core is akin to “putting the horse before the cart." The basics of literacy are not even part of the curriculum unless they are tied into content. These basics such as grammar, syntax, etc… should not be blown past because they are building blocks of literacy. Ironically, the new Common Core Global Regents is really a test of literacy. As educators we should set rigorous expectations, however we should not inherently damage an already disadvantaged population by setting unrealistic expectations. The Common Core graduation required state exams are detrimental and placing students most at-risk even more at-risk.

Title I - Helping Disadvantaged Children Meet High Standards | National Association for the Education of Young Children | NAEYC. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/policy/federal/title1

Common core at a crossroads. (2016, March). Principal Leadership, 16(7), 24+.
Burris, C. (2015, July). Principal's Last Advice: Let's Move Beyond the Rhetoric and Really Question the Common Core (HechingerReport). Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/principalslastadvice.

Reilly, K. (2016, August 30). Homework: Is It Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says. Retrieved from http://time.com/4466390/homework-debate-research/

Links I used:

National Center for Education Statistics

ESSA - What's Next in Education?

The Facts on Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA - 2015)

President G.W. Bush's educational legacy, No Child Left Behind (NCLB - 2002) was repealed and replaced by President Barack Obama's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA - 2015)

Nancy "Nancella" Ribak Altadonna
Teacher | Social Studies | Instruction Support Services

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you."   
                                                                                                                                   - Thomas Jefferson (U.S President 1801-1809)

  • Ph.D. Student of Education in Learning, Instruction & Innovation Walden University
  • M.S. of Education in Urban Adolescence Inclusive Education, Duel-Certification in Special Education & Social Studies, Grades 7-12

             Long Island University  

  • B.S. of Communications in Radio-Television-Film

              The University of Texas at Austin