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Inside Olympia – Disinformation and Social Media & K-12 challenges during COVID-19

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March 18, 2021

Once a basketball star, UW Associate Professor Kate Starbird now focuses her attention on social media. Her early research looked at how social media can help people come together to solve societal challenges. But more recently, she and her UW colleagues have been delving into the details of how accidental misinformation, and purposeful disinformation, spread via social media.

How is disinformation spread on social media? Are social media companies responsible for policing disinformation on their platforms? And how does social media interact with the declining trust in government and the media? Host Austin Jenkins goes in-depth with Professor Starbird on these questions and more.

Plus, what kind of learning loss have school students suffered during COVID, and how can the Legislature best help schools respond to these challenges?
We talk with State Senator Lisa Wellman, chair of the Senate K-12 and Early Learning Committee, and Senator Brad Hawkins, the ranking Republican on the committee.

The two senators are co-sponsors of a bill that promotes the idea of alternative school calendars. A school might, for instance, lengthen the spring break and shorten the summer break, as a way to combat learning loss due to lack of in-person school during COVID.

The two senators also discuss the state’s school policies during COVID, vaccinations for teachers, the role of teacher unions as regards in-person instruction, and more.

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