Zombies on campus

Zombie Studies are gaining ground on college campuses, reports the Wall Street Journal. Classes exploiting the walking dead seem to be unstoppable.

The last five years have seen 20 new scholarly books with “zombie” in the title or topic category. Lyle Bishop, chair of Southern Utah University’s English department, turned his PhD dissertation into American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture.

At California State University, East Bay, Philosophy Professor Christopher Moreman co-edited a two-volume collection of essays on The Humanity of the Walking Dead and Cross-Cultural Appropriations of the monsters. He teaches “Philosophy 3432: Religion, Monsters and Horror.”

Many U.S. college graduates can’t read or write well, says Michael Poliakoff, policy director for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. “What have we given up in order to dabble in the undead?”

Or, to put it another way, for this you went to college?

Zombies!

(Illustrations by Dale Stephanos)

2013 was the Year of the Zombies , writes Dave Barry in his annual review.

Students ask policy makers to take exit exam

Today is Take the Test Day in Rhode Island. The Providence Student Union (PSU) has invited community leaders and policy makers to take a condensed version of the state graduation exam.

Providence students haven’t received the “support, resources and improved teaching” necessary to reach high standards, argues PSU member and “part-time zombie” Cauldierre McKay in a blog post.

For the state to punish so many individual students for its own systemic failure to deliver a high-quality education is an injustice on a massive scale.

. . . A comprehensive 2011 study by the National Research Council concluded that, “high school exit exam programs, as currently implemented in the United States, decrease the rate of high school graduation without increasing achievement.” . . .  this policy will do nothing to improve our education while denying many students a diploma—the diploma they need to make it through life.

Forty percent of Rhode Island’s 11th graders — 60 percent in Providence — are in danger of failing the exam and not graduating. That would turn young people into hopeless, jobless, lifeless “zombies,” argues PSU.

Most of the 35 test-takers thought they “tanked the test,” reports the Providence Journal.  Some complained of trick questions on the math exam.

“I was good at math,” said state Rep. Larry Valencia, D-Richmond. “I took trig, statistics, pre-calculus. I have a degree in chemistry. I think the test is very unfair. It doesn’t represent what the average high school student should know.”

Carla Shalaby, director of Elementary Education at Wellesley College, struggles with some of the questions on the math exam, which she took at the Knight Memorial Library in Providence.

Photo: Bob Breidenbach/The Providence Journal