Dockside Chat - Scary words to be removed NYC schools

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03-29-2012, 10:34 AM

New York city schools want to ban 'loaded words' from tests

By Brian Vitagliano, CNN

New York (CNN) – Divorce. Dinosaurs, Birthdays. Religion. Halloween. Christmas. Television. These are a few of the 50-plus words and references the New York City Department of Education is hoping to ban from the city’s standardized tests.

The banned word list was made public – and attracted considerable criticism – when the city’s education department recently released this year’s "request for proposal" The request for proposal is sent to test publishers around the country trying to get the job of revamping math and English tests for the City of New York.

The Department of Education's says that avoiding sensitive words on tests is nothing new, and that New York City is not the only locale to do so. California avoids the use of the word "weed" on tests and Florida avoids the phrases that use "Hurricane" or "Wildfires," according to a statement by the New York City Department of Education.

In its request for proposal, the NYC Department of Education explained it wanted to avoid certain words if the "the topic is controversial among the adult population and might not be acceptable in a state-mandated testing situation; the topic has been overused in standardized tests or textbooks and is thus overly familiar and/or boring to students; the topic appears biased against (or toward) some group of people."

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Matthew Mittenthal, a spokesman for the NYC Department of Education, said this is the fifth year they have created such a list. He said such topics "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students."

"Dinosaurs" evoking unpleasant emotions? The New York Post speculated that the "dinosaurs" could "call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists.”

But what the tabloid failed to realize is that those "fundamentalists" who oppose evolution on religious grounds, believe wholeheartedly in dinosaurs.

Young Earth creationists, or Biblical creationists as they prefer to be called, often point to dinosaurs in making their arguments. They say dinosaurs and humans roamed Earth together, citing legends of dragons and say the fossil record shows the earth is 6,000 years old, though few paleontologists and geologists share this theory.

At the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, the heart of the Young Earth Creationism movement, dinosaur models and exhibits fill the museum displays and gift shop.

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Apparently many of the words on New York’s list were avoided because of faith-based concerns.

For instance, the use of the word "birthday" or the phrase "birthday celebrations" may offend Jehovah's Witnesses, who do not celebrate birthdays. A spokesperson for the Jehovah's Witnesses declined to comment on the use of the word "birthday."

The Department of Education would not go on the record to explain the specific reasons for each word, which has left many to speculate and draw their own conclusions.

Halloween may suggest paganism; divorce may conjure up uneasy feelings for children in the midst of a divorce within their family. One phrase that may surprise many, the term "Rock 'n' Roll" was on the "avoid" list.

Piers Morgan's "Only in America": 50 banned words

And not good news for Italians: the Department of Education also advised avoiding references to types of food, such as pepperoni, products they said "persons of some religions or cultures may not indulge in."

The Department of Education said, "This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and allows our students to complete practice exams without distraction."

Stanford University Professor Sam Wineburg is an expert in the field of education and director of the Stanford History Education Group.

When reached by phone said Wineburg, after a brief pause on the line, "the purpose of education is to create unpleasant experiences in us. ... The Latin meaning if education is 'to go out.' Education is not about making us feel warm and fuzzy inside."

Wineburg questioned the idea that the New York City Department of Education would want to "shield kids from these types of encounters." He said the goal of education is to "prepare them," adding "this is how we dumb down public schools."

03-29-2012, 10:59 AM
"this is how we dumb down public schools."


NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests (

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)
Bodily functions
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
Junk food
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Nuclear weapons
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Rap Music
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Rock-and-Roll music
Running away
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.

03-29-2012, 11:00 AM
The pussification continues.

Dulcecita Lures
03-29-2012, 11:00 AM
"this is how we dumb down public schools."

Have truer words ever been spoken? Good grief! Let's just put every child in a little plastic bubble when they're born to shield them from anything bad or offensive they might experience in life.

The politically-correct pussification of America continues.:(:(:(

Geez NJ (on edit) same thought, same posting time! GMTA!!! :thumbsup:

03-29-2012, 11:01 AM
Next they will remove the grading process, because they don't want to get little johnny and his parents up set that he is sub par

Dulcecita Lures
03-29-2012, 11:07 AM
"Homes with swimming pools"

Color me absolutely stupid, but what is terrifying or traumatic about this? Maybe to some inner city kid that can't swim, but damn... I don't get it at all!

Most heart-stopping, frightening word on the entire list - "politics" :rofl:

03-29-2012, 11:14 AM
They need to ban:

Taxi Drivers

03-29-2012, 11:23 AM
"this is how we dumb down public schools."


The pussification continues.

They have to keep up their voter base somehow.


03-29-2012, 12:58 PM
First the PC crowd throws a fit if you use any descriptive adjective in relation to a person. Now they are offended by common nouns. If you take these 50 words or subjects out how much more boring can you make the reading comprehention? I guess History class and books will have to become a part of history themselves. They are full of those words. English class will have to go too. Novels are full of those words. Especially the classics.

03-29-2012, 01:04 PM
Next they will remove the grading process, because they don't want to get little johnny and his parents up set that he is sub par

There was joke circulated around here awhile back. Something like the college kids that scored lower wanted to borrow some of the A students points to increase the dummy's grade. The professor was all for wealth redistribution but was appalled at the thought of grade redistribution. I don't see the difference.

03-29-2012, 01:06 PM
The pussification continues.


spraynet 1
03-29-2012, 02:04 PM
Thank God by the responses so far this is not news to any of you!

The number 1 reason we are in the mess we are in right now is due to the Public School System in this Country.....PERIOD!!!!!!!!

Followed closely by Unions.....more specifically, the Teacher Union.

Then a close third would be Lawyers!!!!

03-29-2012, 03:54 PM
Thank God by the responses so far this is not news to any of you!

The number 1 reason we are in the mess we are in right now is due to the Public School System in this Country.....PERIOD!!!!!!!!

Followed closely by Unions.....more specifically, the Teacher Union.

Then a close third would be Lawyers!!!!

They have their own language. ;)

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