A media literacy awareness program in the public schools is becoming an endangered species because of budget cuts says Linda Bettinger, a library-media specialist in the Cache County School District who is retiring this year.
Bettinger says the local district is one of only a handful in the state where this is still being taught. She feels this is sad because the program helps young people make wise choices through critical thinking.
“We are just so inundated with media messages and we have to be able to question them. We can’t be sponges absorbing these messages without saying, ‘well what’s the other side of the story. What are they leaving out of this story?’ That is the critical thinking thing that comes in. There’s not as much critical thinking in education anymore because of the emphasis on taking tests.”
Bettinger says it’s discouraging to see well qualified teachers replaced by aids in order to save money. On KVNU’s For the People show Wednesday she said unfortunately many decision makers don’t realize the importance of the program.