By CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)– A bill to help kids in school discern fake news from credible media sparked heated debate at the state Capitol. The bill directs teachers to incorporate media literacy in their curriculum and provides an online bank of resources from the Department of Education to help them.

(credit: CBS)

At issue is whether the resources, compiled by an outside task force, teach kids how to tell fact from fiction or teach them what is fact and what is fiction.

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Lawmakers spent nearly three hours debating the bill on the House floor Friday.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Lisa Cutter, says she was surprised by the pushback, “We just want kids to understand how to dig a little deeper. You know, when you see that headline and you go, ‘Oh my gosh!’ and you react so strongly, we want children, in particular, to say, ‘Oh, hey, wait, maybe that’s biased, I better look at this a little further.”

She says the bank, or library, teaches kids how to think critically.

Rep. Patrick Neville says it tells them what to think. He questioned why there weren’t any Republicans on the task force and why it didn’t take any public input.

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“This library is more than just teaching general logic and reasoning to students. I would almost say that Socrates would be turning in his grave right now because it is more than that. It’s really leading into what they believe the truth is and leading students to that specific truth to what they have already concluded is the truth.”

Neville points to an article in the bank of resources written by Black Lives Matter and another article about climate change that refers to Wikipedia as a source, “I don’t think any academic person would say that Wikipedia is a reliable source for anything.”

Cutter insists the articles are irrelevant. The purpose of the bank, she says, is to give kids the tools they need to evaluate those articles.

“The resource bank just has a variety of examples of information and nobody is prescribing that they use them or they’re the truth, that’s absolutely against the point of what we’re doing,” said Cutter.

(credit: iStock/Getty)

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The bill doesn’t require teachers to use the bank of resources. It got initial approval in the House.

Shaun Boyd