In a sad example of a missed educational opportunity, a "zombie survival skills" class has been canceled at an Oregon middle school. Parents questioned the educational value of it, and when the superintendent got wind of it, he put the kibosh on the class.
Superintendent Fred Maiocco told the East Oregonian that he "couldn't believe that would actually be a class." It was replaced STAT with a plain old exploratory reading class.
Great, now what are these kids going to do when the zombie apocalypse comes?!
I kid, but I do think it's a shame to have a class like this cancelled. It was said to be focused on real-world survival skills and incorporated reading and writing as well. There were reportedly no empty seats in the two sections taught by Rich Harshberger. It sounds great to me -- just the kind of thing that would keep the interest of middle school students. Why not let them hone their skills on a topic they find interesting instead of trying to make them learn from some sterile slate of information?
If teachers show this kind of creativity and willingness to try new things in the classroom, they shouldn't be shot down. Sure, the basics need to be taught, but when possible, adding things like this are just the kind of thing that can really bring out passion in a kid otherwise bored by school. If we don't find new and creative ways to engage them, some of their futures will surely be doomed in a variety of ways.
As for claims it was too violent, we're talking middle school kids here and fictional creatures. I think they can handle it in the appropriate setting, which it sounds like this was. If individual parents don't want their kids taking it, fine, let them opt them out, but to deny everyone the opportunity to take such a creative course is sad.
Would you want your children to take a class like this?
Image via Grmisit/Flickr