Another school district pulls public media game about slavery

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A third school district has halted use of an educational game about slavery produced by WNET.

The North Penn School District in Lansdale, Pa., said it will no longer use Mission US: Flight to Freedom due to complaints from parents about the content, according to local WFMZ News.

A statement from the district said the game, in which users take on the identity of an enslaved young girl living on a Kentucky plantation in 1848, was not part of the curriculum but was used by teachers in several classrooms.

The statement said that due to complaints, “other resources that do not involve simulation games will be used in classrooms when learning about historical and cultural events.”

A Phoenix school district halted use of Flight to Freedom last year after similar complaints from parents. Minneapolis Public Schools banned the game in 2015.

Sandra Sheppard, WNET’s director and EP of children’s and educational media, wrote in a letter to Current last year that research has shown Mission US games, which also cover other historical eras, “improves students’ knowledge of history and historical thinking, fusing high motivation with a deeper understanding of the past.”

“The Mission US team is proud of the work we’ve done to teach millions of young people about our country’s past through our experiential approach,” Sheppard wrote.

Mission US games launched in 2010 with $3.3 million from CPB. About $786,000 of that went into Flight to Freedom, which went online in 2012. WNET also received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Education for the games.

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