Skip to comments.War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests
Posted on 08/05/2013 6:18:03 AM PDT by Kip Russell
George Carlin is rolling over in his grave.
The New York City Department of Education is waging a war on words of sorts, and is seeking to have words they deem upsetting removed from standardized tests. Fearing that certain words and topics can make students feel unpleasant, officials are requesting 50 or so words be removed from city-issued tests.
The word dinosaur made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported. Halloween is targeted because it suggests paganism; a birthday might not be happy to all because it isnt celebrated by Jehovahs Witnesses.
Julie Lewis family celebrates Christmas and Kwanzaa, but she told CBS 2′s Emily Smith she wants her children to appreciate and learn about other holidays and celebrations. Theyre going to meet people from all walks of life and theyre going to have to learn to adjust, Lewis said.
Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. Poverty is also on the forbidden list. Thats something Sy Fliegal with the Center for Educational Innovation calls ridiculous. The Petersons take a vacation for five days in their Mercedes so what? You think our kids are going to be offended because they dont have a Mercedes? You think our kids are going to say Im offended; how could they ask me a question about a Mercedes? I dont have a Mercedes! Fliegal said.
In a throwback to Footloose, the word dancing is also taboo. However, there is good news for kids that like ballet: The city made an exception for this form of dance. Also banned are references to divorce and disease, because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill.
Some students think banning these words from periodic assessment tests is ridiculous. If you dont celebrate one thing you might have a friend that does it. So I dont see why people would find it offensive, Curtis High School Sophomore Jamella Lewis told Diamond.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the DOE is simply giving guidance to the test developers. So were not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests, Walcott said Monday. To which Fliegal responded: Its all of life! I dont know how they figure out what not to put on the list. Every aspect of life is on the list.
There are banned words currently in school districts nationwide. Walcott said New York Citys list is longer because its student body is so diverse. Here is the complete list of words that could be banned:
Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Death and disease
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Homes with swimming pools
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
Yawn. I have religion throughout my test. Bring it on Obama!
One word they should definitely not leave off the list is “reeducation.”
Several years ago, the NY Board of Regents changed “The Old Man and the Sea” to the “Elderly Man and the Sea” on an exam.
If they’re going to ban discussion of weapons, guns in particular, they might as well ban discussion of piston engines, both steam and internal combustion, because they function basically the me way guns do, with objects (bullets and pistons) bring moved by rapidly expanding gas. Indeed, early inventors of piston engines to the idea from how guns work.
We went to an auction this summer where we were hoping to find a nice muscle car (for me and my son). There were several Bentleys up for auction. Original price was well over 200k, but they were going for 75k or so. Most were 2010-2012 models, pimped out in weird ways.
Auto broker who was buying them told me that they are rapper cars. They get a record deal for 30k + royalties, and they think they are going to be millionaires. So they finance the cars, and a few months later when when the first payment of 12 grand comes in, and no royalties are coming in, they are forced to sell the cars.
He said the biggest problem with these cars, is that they sometimes have a lot of damage that must be dealt with, slashed seats, urine, and general hardcore vandalism. He explained that when the cars get repossessed often the owner and perhaps his posse go off the hook on them, so you had to be very careful to make sure you were not buying a car that was either repaired or damaged in such a way.
I asked him about Carfax, and he laughed. He said it was a useless service. You actually should bring a mechanic with you to the auction to check these cars out before bidding.
It was an interesting and enlightening conversation.
We never did get a muscle car. Maybe next year.