NYC Schools Want to Ban ‘Loaded Words’ From Tests … Like ‘Dinosaur’


Illustration: Hgrobe (CC)

Great job, NYC! Brian Vitagliano reports on 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 released this year’s “request for proposal” on March 8, 2010. 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 …

Read More: CNN

17 Comments on "NYC Schools Want to Ban ‘Loaded Words’ From Tests … Like ‘Dinosaur’"

  1. Dinochrist | Mar 28, 2012 at 11:14 pm |

    Dinosaurs contradict the Bible. There are no dinosaurs mentioned in it and therefore they cannot exist. Giant lizards bigger than ten men created by God? Preposterous! I call upon all my fellow Christians to burn text books that mention any lizard larger than two feet tall. New York has given us hope! We must continue the fight to expunge so-called dinosaurs from the public mind so that Jesus can enter without let up or competition from that hell spawn T.Rex.

  2. In the defense of Florida, any kid who has been through a hurricane (or wildfire) just might have some strong emotional responses to memories of the event. Memories which might be stimulated by reading the word, especially in an already high-stress situation like a standardized test.

    The kids are already under enough pressure at test time, so attempting not to put any additional emotional stress on them is probably a good idea.

    Despite Wineburg’s complaints about the dumbing-down of schools, a reasonable argument can be made that while certain emotionally charged words and concepts should certainly be taught in the classroom, including them in high-stakes testing situations may not be prudent if measuring student academic achievement is the actual goal.

    For example, even today my reaction to phrases like “Cleveland Steamer” or “recreational vivisection” could potentially produce a measurable reduction on a standardized test score.

    •  I hear what you’re trying to say, and it’s not garbage, prior to any of that though I am confronted with my ugly belief that American schools are just flat out bad, no matter how you fluff the pillow. I mean standardized testing was all the rave in the late 90s, and it just sucked, and was shown over and over to suck and make kids do worse and provide very little data as to if they were actually worth anything to society or not.

      And now that I work in a big company and have some 9 years experience working in the real world, I can quite definitely say I don’t use 99% of the stupid worthless crap they taught my in American public schools. Half of the American history I was taught was renamed and revamped after the rest of the world, (particularly Native Americans, as I grew up in Seattle) called bullshit on the regurgitate based drivel that again, serves no purpose in the minds of children or adults.

      Why do we not teach kids how to brave? How to be smart shoppers? How to keep out of debt? How to avoid alcoholism or depression? How to NOT make babies. The ONE time they taught me how to not make babies was TEN minutes in ONE day in Middle School in which my 70 year old teach rolled a condom onto a banana. And yet every day I had to do hundreds of math problems that serve no purpose, listen to other kids ramble about how they don’t understand how an eclipse is even possible, etc, etc.

      Rather than bickering about word choice and power hungry security guards, America needs to wake up to the fact that their school system sucks! The whole system!!

    • Calypso_1 | Mar 29, 2012 at 11:58 pm |

      We of the American Society of Recreational Vivisectionists would like to allay your reservations regarding this wholesome and deeply fascinating pursuit of higher knowledge.  All subjects are carefully chosen both for their ability to satisfy the hubristic needs of the practitioner and for the sheer artistic expression their anatomy displays as it unfolds under the skillful disassembly of flesh.  You can also be assured of the high ethical standards maintained in the rigorous use of dissociative anesthetics and entactogens to render the subject’s state of perception to one of an objective and therapeutic relationship with the practitioner. 

  3. How else will we standardize our children? 

  4. They’re called Jesus Horses, not Dinosaurs. Duh.

  5. What’s a decent country to flee to?  I want out before we bring fahrenheit 451 to reality.  Don’t question just keep watching the laughing clown.  

  6. I don’t blame them. I’ve seen Jurassic Park 2.

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