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‘Truth Decay’ in American Society: What Is Schools’ Role?

“Fake news,” the “post-truth” era, “alternative facts.”

As the line between objective facts and opinion grows increasingly blurred, more and more researchers are raising alarm bells about what these terms could mean for society, including: the erosion of civil discourse, an increasingly polarized Congress, and an inability to solve complex public policy problems.   

Now, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Rand Corporation, a public policy research firm, has laid out an ambitious agenda for understanding this phenomenon and for trying to combat it. In a wide-ranging report, it tries to lay out a common definition and framework for understanding what it calls “truth decay.” Then, it outlines an extensive research agenda that cuts across many disciplines—including K-12 education.