We hope you’ve been studying, because 180 Days: Challenge — an interactive game just released by PBS and NBPC — is full of tricky questions. In the role of principal, teacher or parent (the player gets to choose), you can make decisions about where to devote state funds, which students need special attention and how to raise children while working three jobs. Like the standardized tests for which public school kids spend semesters preparing, the challenge offers a series of multiple-choice questions. Unlike those standardized tests, however, it measures players’ priorities rather than their “success.”
180 Days: Hartsville, the documentary about public education in South Carolina which premiered recently on PBS — and is still streaming free on Black Culture Connection — inspired this online experience. Both the game and series portray the difficult situations in which parents, educators and administrators often find themselves. But the game takes these dilemmas one step further into personal territory, assessing users’ attention to social, emotional and intellectual needs. How would you fare with power over the fates of today’s schoolchildren and the public education system? Could you meet the developmental needs of a classroom of ten-year-olds, and pass each of them on to the sixth grade? Do you have what it takes to ensure a healthy schoolwide atmosphere? How would you find the time for your misbehaving oldest child in a schedule jammed with work shifts, carpools and parent-teacher conferences?
180 Days: Challenge provides insight into these matters and more. It even includes suggestions for further reading, for those who would like to investigate further. So, sharpen your pencils, clear your calculators and check out the game at blackpublicmedia.org/180daysgame! Regardless of your age and grade level, we guarantee you will learn something new.