Today’s digital natives reside in a world in which they consume, and are exposed to, more visual messages than print. Reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation and others remind us regularly how much media young people use and consume. It is unfortunate that the release of the final Core Standards for English Language Arts has completely ignored this.
One of the most important questions in media literacy is ‘what is left out of a message’ and it is clear that what is omitted from the Common Core ELA standards released today is any reference to both visual literacy and media literacy.
When the draft of the ELA core standards was recently released for public comment, we provided the reviewers with 6 separate quotes from national educational organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English, which reflected the importance of teaching with and about non-print texts. Yet the writers of the core standards have chosen to ignore this.
Because each state can add 15% to this document, I call on those representatives in each of the 50 states to not only consider what is in the document, but also what is not. There is plenty of evidence (and resources) that today’s ELA classroom must include media (and other non-print) as texts.
I can tell you that I will be working, here in South Carolina, with the State Department of Education, to ensure that both visual and media literacy are included in what our state requires teachers to teach and students to learn. I hope you might consider doing the same.