The New York City Department of Education is pushing to have words they deem upsetting removed from standardized tests because they might upset students.
Right now, the tally of banned words is at 50 but rest assured that list will grow.
According to the CBS affiliate in NYC, the word “dinosaur” should be banned because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like. “Halloween” is targeted because it suggests paganism; a “birthday” might not be happy to all because it isn’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Here is the complete list of words that could be banned along my snarky comments:
Abuse – Yeah, because banning the word “abuse” definitely helps kids.
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs – How will they ask their students what they’re on? This is New York City after all.
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays) – Happy…you know!
Bodily functions – Did this one really need to be banned from tests. Were bodily functions really a strong meme in word problems. If Timmy had two bodily functions and Sam had three. How many bodily functions did they have? A. They might have irritable bowel syndrome.
Cancer (and other diseases) – Now if we could only ban the disease and not just the word.
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes) – Well, I guess we should scrap the science lesson on weather.
Celebrities – What about classic word problems like, “If celebrity Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan collected every original thought that ever entered their heads, how many would there be?
Children dealing with serious issues – So, it’s banned phrases too?
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia) – How can we tell kids how bad they are.
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting) – I assume this is because some kids don’t have computers in their home. But don’t they want computers in their home. I’d bet they’re aware that other people do have computers in their home. Why don’t we also ban “meat in the freezer.”
Crime – We all know the best way to fight crime is to ignore it.
Dancing – I’m seeing a movie in this. Maybe starring Kevin Bacon. Where a town outlaws talking about dancing and Bacon moves into town and maybe starts a big event where all the kids get together and talk about dancing. Hmmm…it needs a little work but there’s something there.
Death and disease – Uhm, teacher whatever happened to the old principal who fell down in the hallway grabbing at his chest? Why won’t anyone tell me?!
Divorce – Thank goodness no kids in NYC have to go through the mess of divorce and then actually read the word. Because that would put them over the top.
Evolution – The word is fine. Just put the word “theory” near it.
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes – So much for the quiz on game shows.
Gambling involving money –
Halloween – I wonder if “All Saints Day” and “All Souls Day” are fine? Probably not, right?
Homelessness – Wait, I thought ignoring the homeless was bad.
Homes with swimming pools – These kids do watch television shows, you know. And girls on those shows are constantly in bikinis. But oddly, you never actually see them swimming in pools. Maybe television has banned “homes with swimming pools” too. But not bikinis.
Hunting – A little too Red state, right?
Junk food – This one I agree with. Why just say, “Junk food” when you can be specific and talk about “bon-bons” and “ho-hos.” (Oddly the other meaning of “ho” is not on the banned word list.)
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge – Girls!
Loss of employment – Ironically, the Obama administration would also like to see that phrase on the banned list. At least until after the election when he can be a little more flexible.
Nuclear weapons – “Uhm kids, we’re just gonna’ skip today’s lesson on The Cold War.” (Extra benefit – by skipping that lesson they don’t have to talk about Ronald Reagan as much either.)
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling) – So much for that field trip.
Parapsychology – Half the kids in NYC can’t read that word anyway.
Politics – Seriously? Politics? The whole word is banned?
Pornography – What kind of tests was the school district giving that this word needed to be banned?
Poverty – Shhh. They won’t know they’re poor if we don’t say anything. They’ll just think some kids have pools and computers. Oh wait…
Rap Music – Cross out the question “If Tupac shot Biggie three times and Biggie’s posse returned fire…
Religion – You knew that one was coming, right?
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)- I wonder if Kwanzaa is still allowed because that’s only pretending to be a religious holiday.
Rock-and-Roll music – Seriously. I wonder if jazz is still ok?
Running away – You know, because kids never get the idea of running away until they read it on a test.
Sex – Can we mention abstinence? Or is that still banned?
Slavery – That might make discussing the Civil War a little tricky.
Terrorism – Come on. They weren’t talking about that anyway unless you could talking about the terrorism of George W. Bush.
Television and video games (excessive use) – But references to casual use is good then?
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches) – Come on it’s New York City.
Violence – Come on. It’s New York City!
War and bloodshed – Come on. It’s New York City!!
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.) – Seriously. Do I have to write it again. Come on. It’s New York City!!!
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc. – I guess that takes Harry Potter off the summer reading list.