Friday, April 6, 2012

Sticks and stones ...

The New York City Department of Education wants to ban some 50 words from appearing on standardized tests because the words might upset some students. The story apparently first came to light via the New York Post, but Google “New York banned words” and you’ll see lots of coverage and comment.

You can see the complete list here. To give you an idea, I’ve selected a few of the more interesting entries for comment.

Alcohol, tobacco, or drugs—I suppose they get enough about those topics after school anyway.
Birthday celebrations and birthdays—On the list because some religious groups do not celebrate birthdays. Being of a certain age, I don’t like these words either.
Celebrities—Is just the word “celebrities” to be banned or is it about mentioning the names of specific celebrities? Either way, I’m all for it.
Dinosaurs—We wouldn’t want them to learn about that subject or be tested on it now, would we?
Disease—Said to be banned because it might upset students who have family members who are sick.
Evolution—See Dinosaurs
Halloween—A dangerous topic for young minds.
Junk food—Interesting in light of all the talk about an epidemic of obesity.
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge—How would one ask about this on a standardized test anyway?
Sex—Take care of that on your own time.
War and bloodshed—So students can’t be asked about war on a test? That’s going to shorten history class a lot. And how are the kids going to learn about stuff like when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)—See sex

It looks like New York City has taken the “Nanny State” concept to new heights. What do you think?

This post appeared on Sermo yesterday.

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