We learned it when I was in elementary school. Through endless drills, the nuns taught us how to separate fact from opinion, and to read between the lines and spot what are now called "weasel words."
While it's a noble goal, I'd say that the two classes that should be brought back are civics and geography.
Geography so we can start having adults who understand their role in the world, and civics so they know how it works and how to change it.
I think if people knew how things (politics and government) worked, more ordinary people would run for office and the halls of power wouldn't be the exclusive domain of the rich and their lawyers.
Did we really get rid of those two classes? I honestly don't know, and have no children to know what is being taught these days. I graduated high school in the early 2000's but to this day my favorite class was "Law and Government", so much of this had to do with my teacher's genuine enthusiasm for the subject matter. We did mock trials, a few of which I won as a fake public defender.
That class was wildly informative looking back, you really do have me wondering what the state of that sort of curriculum is like these days.
(random addendum but a few years back I ran into the gentleman who taught that class, at the voting booth-he was volunteering his time as a poll worker. Just as civic minded as I remembered him)
I shouldn't sell it entirely short, if you took some more esoteric extracurriculars/AP courses you could get some exposure but it was still very academic and VERY niche.
To stop beating around the bush, speaking at least for my school (even around when you graduated) had very little to prepare someone to actually be an informed participant in society. This likely varies heavily by school however, but polling my wife as well, she echos an even more bleak story. (private Jewish school)
Interesting contrasts we have here, eh? I went to a public HS in a hyper-rural area in the deep south. Law and Government I & II were classes required by juniors and then seniors respectively.
My expectation was that city schools would definitely have these courses, it's interesting to learn in your case they didn't.
School districts have some leeway to add additional courses, or to alter the typical order of them. For instance, that civics course in GA could've been a one year senior level course in a neighboring district. But the civics course was required across the state at the time.
I had a similar class in the early 2000's, complete with the mock trial and enthusiastic teacher, but looking back see it more as blatant propaganda. For example, our trial was an incredibly idealistic view of what is a terribly broken court system. Most of the class was similar, teaching the ideals of being an American without any connection to reality.
What were they supposed to do, have your defendant spend years in jail waiting for a trial because they can't make bail? Automatically dismiss all the jurors with the same skin color?
He replied, saying "let me know if you want me to take you off my list". And then he put "fact-checked at snopes" on every email. Yes, all the same crap.
Not all elderly people are lacking the skills to detect BS. Some pass it along with full knowledge that it's garbage. And they're not all sociopaths.
In elementary school, pick a country from a region and memorize trivia about it, then watch interminable presentations from classmates about their chosen country within the region.
In highschool, it was primarily "how to read a municipal topographical map" as if that provides any meaningful context. And lots of stuff about how the region was shaped geologically.
Very little real context about how the larger world works. Also nothing about municipal civics and planning.
There is the polite fiction, and there is the reality. The reality involves miraculously good investments and other things that totally aren't bribes, especially because they are often done by spouses and children of elected officials. The reality involves trading scandal information to blackmail each other into supporting the uniparty. The reality includes legislation written by lobbiests. The reality includes winning at any cost, such as via election fraud.
Wait, US schools don't teach geography?
I agree with you about Civics as well.
Throw Ethics and Personal Financial Education in there too. So much of the economy is predicated on people not knowing enough about the complicated financial arrangements that are offered to them.
If your parents don't teach you and your school doesn't teach you, you're left to figure out the scams for yourself.
Geography? What happened to geography classes? When were they cancelled?
If they've removed it from the US version, that's pretty depressing.
My only real memory of Geography classes is how oxbow lakes are formed.
My memory of history in primary and secondary school involved Celts & Romans (one in primary, once in secondary), Tudors & Stuarts (likewise), some unit about the agricultural revolution(? secondary school) and a short time learning about the Second World War (secondary school).
I think it probably gets better during GCSEs and A-Levels, but I only started learning about history again after Civilization V inspired me to check out some history podcasts (mainly because I felt embarrassed about not knowing anything about these civilizations and their leaders).
I thought you were required to do one or the other at GCSE? What did you do instead?
Some of the responses were comical. Some were just depressing.
It was a Home Ec class in junior high. (7th grade had both Home Ec and Shop, 8th grade you picked one). We had just finished "how to order from a catalog" (because I'm old) and the teacher passed out magazines and we were to find an ad, then list 5 ways it was deceptive.
The first few were easy. Showing money, attractive people, fast cars, happiness...but then things got subtle.
Once we did, we shared with the class. I don't recall my ad. I DO recall the lesson that clicked for me. It was an ad for Bayer aspirin. "4 out of 5 doctors recommend", the ad said, something I had seen on countless commercials. "Who picks the doctors?" asked the student.
Blam. Mind Blown. I had never considered that particular aspect. This opened up that "clinical studies prove..." doesn't mean anything. Awards, certifications...the idea that I could be told words that were technically true but misleading went from something that could be told to me and that I could recite back to something REAL, that I applied on my own.
I don't know that you can teach critical thinking, but I know that you can push opportunities for it to 'click'. This was one day of one class out of thousands of days of schooling. I learned lots of lessons in school, both factual and personal, and while there were likely many other more subtle lessons about critical thinking, this was a real moment of change for me, and it feels like it could have so easily slipped by.
We should absolutely push students to be ready to accept evidence while also questioning what is presented. Repeatedly. over and over again, because you never know how many times it will take to suddenly start working.
Want a certificate from an official body? If you've got money create the official body in order to get the award. People seldom look past the austere logo anyway.
My youngest siblings were homeschooled for a couple years and my mom made sure to go through logical fallacies with them. Cognitive biases is another area worth studying to understand how we respond to media input or in our interactions with others.
I'm not sure we need a special 'media literacy' subject taught. There are more broad subjects that can provide the same benefits.
Critical thinking, analytical thinking and systems thinking are things that should be taught throughout school, in all classes. Those are general skills. But what exactly is media literacy?
article> More worrisome, contrary to the perception that the fake news epidemic is a conception of malicious online news-bots, there is evidence that suggests the public actually craves fake news.
Well, exactly. There are some people who have trouble figuring out what's true. But in a lot of cases false information spreads simply because people want to believe in it. This is less about critical thinking and more about underlying psychology and sociology.
But yeah, I'd say the one time in school I was educated on how biased media can be misleading was as a senior in high school, and I definitely think it should be earlier than that.
Media literacy is absolutely a good thing to have, but schools don't have unlimited time to teach every subject
Granted, some topics can be integrated into others, but piling things on is not a sustainable thing to do.
We could start with having one, or two years of Shakespeare, instead of five.
We could also drop most of the feel-good national history fairy tale propaganda bullshit.
Also, while we're at it, ditch most of chemistry, beyond the basics (Conservation of mass, atoms and molecules, formulas for basic chemical reactions, combustion, acids and bases, temperature, pressure, and ideal gases, the common forms of matter are all good, and can be covered in three months, tops. 
Also, while we're at it, maybe 30 minutes of homework a day, instead of 120? And smaller class sizes?
 I explicitly omit nuclear physics , but only because I categorize that as part of physics.
 Everyone should understand how an atomic bomb works, how an atomic reactor works, and what the differences between the two are. 
 And why two countries having thousands of the former pointed at eachother is completely bonkers. Especially when a few hundred would work just as well.
You didn’t cut anything. You just described everything that is in a basic sophomore chemistry class and it does take a whole year.
In regards to smaller class sizes, everyone wants that but no one wants to pay for it. Communities and politicians have bitter fights over 0.2% changes in education budgets when meaningfully changing class sizes would require increases of at least 50%.
Source: I teach HS chemistry.
Which is why this proposal will never fly.
Even my shop teacher would make serious errors in explaining things, enough that I didn't take anything he said as a given.
In order for students to know who and what to trust and not trust on the internet, and develop the ability to spot fake news for themselves, it is crucial that we don't just provide them with the conventional toolkit and heuristics for spotting misleading information like paying close attention to authorship, peer-review, and something's scholarly nature, but instead grow their technical literacy to encompass a functional understanding of how content flagging, search ranking, and content recommendation work in order to h ave a more general and transferable understanding of why fake news can, in fact, be seen as real news to some.
Was a private school but never thought about its utility or the idea that may have been an exceptional part of the curriculum till this very moment.
Mobile devices seem to become the norm for young children on how to interact with software and hardware, and the locked down and consumer-oriented design leaves very little room for tinkering.
It's unfortunate that I'm unable to find a source that doesn't manipulate language to achieve a desired emotional state in their readers.
I'm not saying such a course would be politically viable, nor am I interested in interfering with the indoctrination by those parents already infected. I am exploring ways to protect those who have a choice.
Pardon the self-serving comment but given the relevance, I hope it's useful.
My startup has built tools to simplify the evaluation so people can focus on harder questions like "why did the media construct the message this way". Here's a blog post we published today on why this is important.
Every elementary kid should learn: programming, philosophy, Quantum physics, Media Literacy, Civics, etc;
If we teach it to adults, the kids can learn it at home.
We don't expect people to discern what foods and drugs are dangerous, so neither should we expect people to have to discern what is true or not. If it's untrue, someone should be able to bring a libel case.
When was that?
Lesson #1: Everything you see, hear, or read is someone else's agenda.
I've never heard anyone argue in favour of citing secondary sources, merely not doing it out of ignorance - but obviously people seem to disagree.
Incidentally, Wikipedia insists you site secondary (third party) sources on Wikipedia itself [0,1]. Wikipedia would be a tertiary source  though so I think this is language thing and not a real disagreement between you and Wikipedia's policy.
Yes, in wikipedia speak, I mean wikipedia want you to site a secondary sourc,e and not wikipedia itself (which is considered a tertiary one).
> citing wikipedia transitively cites multiple usually high quality sources
Sometimes. Other times it transitively cites nothing.
Danah Boyd gave a good talk on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I7FVyQCjNg