In a bizarre case of political correctness run wild, educrats have banned references to “dinosaurs,” “birthdays,” “Halloween” and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests.
That’s because they fear such topics “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”
Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism.
Even “dancing’’ is taboo, because some sects object. But the city did make an exception for ballet.
The forbidden topics were recently spelled out in a request for proposals provided to companies competing to revamp city English, math, science and social-studies tests given several times a year to measure student progress.
This story is so bizarre, I did a double-take. They have only eliminated the words from standarized tests, it seems, but does it strike anyone else that this is completely weird and counterproductive to learning!? Wouldn’t want them to be distracted for this important test!
Officials say such exclusions are normal procedure.
“This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and allows our students to complete practice exams without distraction,” said a Department of Education spokeswoman, insisting it’s not censorship.
In fact, sensitivity guidelines recently published by a group of states creating new high-stakes exams also caution against mentioning luxuries, group dancing, junk food, homelessness or witches.
If this sort of thing spread, kids might be a BIT unprepared for the real world that is NOT so censored. Yikes!
UPDATED (6-Apr-2012): City reverses Tyrannosaurus nix on school tests
After a tsunami of public outcry, city education officials said they would no longer specify that test-makers exclude topics such as death, dancing and dinosaurs from city exams.