Media literacy

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Media literacy courses are taught in many North American secondary schools, most commonly in the urban areas, where teenagers are literally bombarded with advertising and other propaganda. Most state's teaching standards now include elements of media literacy. [1]

The overt purpose of these courses is to teach some awareness of propaganda techniques in use every day from the commercial sector - although much less attention is paid to their use by the political elite. By definition, public education cannot challenge the norms of the bureaucracy that pays its bills.

Given the intersection of media, civics, commerce, democracy and propaganda that define the modern political economy, some theorists propose that a much broader range of topics is required - a full media civics curriculum. This would fulfil the original purpose of public education, at least in the United States, which is to prepare the citizen to actually debate, vote and otherwise decide each issue.

However, in the 1990s, the common sense conservative agenda in the United States and Canada included cutting back on this and other aspects of culture and citizenship in the secondary school curriculum. This may be part of a deliberate agenda to focus this level of education narrowly on training to prepare for a job, rather than education to prepare for full participation in the society.

See also: media overload