Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Political correctness or political insanity? New York City schools ban words, topics from tests

credit: biologycorner/Flickr
Madison Ruppert, Contributor
Activist Post

If anyone needed a single case to point to in order to show that political correctness has gone completely insane here in the United States, this is it. With the rise of such practices, we also see the growth of the “nanny state” which seeks to control every aspect of our lives.

The New York City Department of Education has banned several words in an attempt to be as politically correct as possible, although I see it as pure imbecilic nonsense.

There are some 50 words which are officially banned from being used on tests given to students by the city. Some of the more insane choices are: dinosaur, birthdays, wealth, poverty, Halloween, dancing, terrorism, divorce, references to disease, slavery, creatures from outer space, and many more.

In fact, it is not just these words that are banned, but indeed the entire topic cannot be included on any tests administered by the city.

This is supposedly because such references “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students,” according to the New York Post.

These subjects were outlined in a request for proposals which was given to companies who compete to create standardized tests for English, math, science and other subjects which are administered multiple times per year.

Dinosaurs are banned because they supposedly might offend people who do not believe in evolution, yet this makes little to no sense given that even the most fundamentalist creationists seem to realize that there were, indeed dinosaurs.

Even the so-called “Creation Museum” in Petersburg, Kentucky includes a dinosaur exhibit called the “Dinosaur Den.”

The only people who refuse to recognize that dinosaurs existed are likely delusional or potentially insane. If the people behind the Creation Museum can agree that dinosaurs existed, as they actually have “a number of real fossilized dinosaur eggs, a Hadrosaur tibia, [and a] Triceratops skeleton casting,” on display, who out there refuses to acknowledge their existence?

Words suggesting either wealth or poverty are banned because they could supposedly make children feel jealous or saddened. I guess the New York City Department of Education believes that if you pretend it doesn’t exist, it simply doesn’t exist.

Seems to me that the Department of Education has a great deal in common with ostriches and babies under 7-9 months who have yet to develop object permanence, according to Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development.

This head-in-the-sand approach is also applied to divorces and diseases, since students might have divorced parents or might be sick in one way or another.

I guess they believe that if students don’t read the word “divorce” or anything to do with it, they’ll simply forget that their parents are divorced.

That makes about as much sense as thinking that if no one says “cancer” or “disease” suddenly no one in the world will have cancer.

However, the Department of Education insists that this is not censorship and that this is a completely routine, typical practice.

Unfortunately, our government has proven time and time again that they’re not the most competent individuals when it comes to logic and critical thinking.

“Some of these topics may be perfectly acceptable in other contexts but do not belong in a city- or state-wide assessment,” the request said.

Unfortunately, New York City is not alone and such “sensitivity guidelines” have actually been published by a group of states. They said that tests should not mention group dancing, various luxuries, junk food, homelessness and even witches.

“This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and allows our students to complete practice exams without distraction,” a Department of Education spokesperson said, as reported by the Post.

However, this fails to address the fact that New York City’s list is almost twice the length of those produced by others and has even fewer exceptions.

It is my humble opinion that censoring any topic from a standardized test (within reason, of course, as explicitly violent or erotic material obviously has no place on a school test) is nothing short of absurd and represents some of the more troubling ways the American “nanny state” has reared its ugly head.

According to the list, tests cannot mention homes with swimming pools and computers or anything which could be construed as potentially “disrespectful to authority or authority figures.”

Even more insane, they are not allowed to personify animals or inanimate objects, which makes even less sense than most of the items.

According to officials, this is not necessary an absolute ban, as some items can be included on exams but only on a case-by-case basis.

“The intent is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge,” Robert Pondiscio, a spokesman for the Core Knowledge Foundation, said to the Post.

“But the irony is they’re eliminating some subjects, like junk food, holidays and popular music, that the broadest number of kids are likely to know quite a lot about,” he added.

“If the goal is to assess higher-order thinking skills, controversial topics, for example, ones that are the subject of political debate, are exactly what students should be reasoning about,” Deanna Kuhn, a professor at the Teachers College at Columbia University, aptly pointed out, according to the Post.

One of the most common justifications for these nonsensical practices is that they are attempting to avoid offending people of certain religious beliefs.

Birthdays are banned since Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate them; witches and Halloween are banned since they could be interpreted as pagan; and terrorism is banned because it might be scary.

If you’re absolutely astounded by these choices, you’re not alone. I honestly can’t even believe that such a thing is true, but I guess it goes to show just how far our country has gone down the rabbit hole of political correctness and the freedom-crushing nanny state.

I’d love to hear your opinion, take a look at your story tips, and even your original writing if you would like to get it published. Please email me at Admin@EndtheLie.com

Please support our work and help us start to pay contributors by doing your shopping through our Amazon link or check out some must-have products at our store.

This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on Orion Talk Radio from 8 pm -- 10 pm Pacific, which you can find HERE.  If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com


This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


If you enjoy our work, please donate to keep our website going.


Anonymous said...

I do believe I have lost my respect for schools, and teachers.
"What luck for rulers that men do not think." hitler

Anonymous said...

No comments yet? I'm not surprised. This idiocy leaves me scrambling to find words ....

Chief said...

This is really rediculous! I'm honestly speechless. That is way! over the top! really unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

But tests themselves provoke unpleasant emotions in some students, probably a lot more than these bullshit topics and words they're so concerned with.

This is mostly caused by the abundance of obscenely overpaid school administrators whose main function is to justify their useless, expensive existence.

If you have children in public school, get then the hell out now! Don't expose them to abuse and brainwashing anymore.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know by now who "Big Brother" is. Hitler knew and did take action to squash "Big Brother".

Anonymous said...

Another reason we are happy to homeschool!

Against School
How public education cripples our kids, and why

Kelly Thomas said...

Any parent who sends their kids to NYC public schools should be charged with child abuse. I thought the article was satire when I read the except. No mention of slavery? Guess we cannot test kids on American history or the Civil War. Birthdays? Does that mean the school will start asking for a student's date of birth?

I am so glad I do not live in the US any longer. I cannot imagine being surrounded by so many pathetic sheep who are incapable of standing up to the system that enslaves them. Those administrators are worse than the most hard core Christian fundamentalists! When TSHTF, I think it is safe to assume that these idiots without a smidgen of common sense will be the first to exit the planet.

Anonymous said...

A modern equivalent of the medieval ( and modern)
book burning by the truth-haters.


Anonymous said...

...seems like a result of employing low-IQ'd personnel.

Anonymous said...

It seems obvious that there is no longer a
First Amendment right in New York!
I'd love to see someone test this in court!

Anonymous said...

They forgot to add, that Obama should referred as "DEAR LEADER"! "FATHER of the NATION" would be accepted!

Anonymous said...

This is ludicrous. If you take this to the extreme and logical conclusion - below is what will eventually happen.

There will eventually be no schools, no more kindergartens, no more universities and colleges - because certain subjects are not forbidden because they are politically INCORRECT.

No more medical students because you cannot study cancers and disease of any kind.

Also there will be no more nurses studying - again because they cannot study diseases and cancers.

You cannot study any engineering or geography or geology, or environmental studies because you cant mention dinosaurs and oil comes from the crustaceous age which was also the age of the dinosaurs.

No more religious studies at college because they cant study religions because they cannot study All saints day and all hallows eve because you cannot talk about witches

No one can study American history because they cant study the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts in the 1600s (or 1700s or whenever they were).
They cannot study the Spanish inquisition in Europe either because many of those victims were burnt at the stake for being a "witch".

Eventually you wont even be allowed to mention 9-11 because any talk of terrorism is banned.

If you take the No personification of animals to the literal and logical conclusion - then there will be NO more reading of many classic childrens stories such as the Beatrix Potter books - Peter Rabbit is off the reading lists because you cannot personify a rabbit.

Watership Down is off the reading lists for the same reason as is Black Beauty, The Babe movies (babe the pig), Charlottes Web, Wind in the Willows, The Franklin Books (where Franklin is a turtle), Timothy goes to school (childrens Tv program) etc etc.

Many childrens TV programs will have to stop too - like Blues Clues, Barney the Dinosaur (that's a 2 hit cancellation right there - No dinosaurs and no personifying animals) and even Sesame street because you cannot personify Big Bird, Grouchy Oscar and the cookie monster!!!

So how will you teach the young kids to read and what will they watch on TV, since there are no good kids programs on TV?

There will be no new high schools teachers for many of the core subjects because they cant get degrees in those subjects and they cant even talk about, let alone teach about those subjects.

Lets take this to the literal and logical conclusion and see how long it takes the NY board of education takes to backtrack and cancel this policy.

Like I said, this censorship - and it IS censorship, plain and simple- is totally LUDICROUS!!!!

Tatiana Covington said...

So the little shits get their feelings hurt, Well, boo hoo! Wake up to reality, assholes.

I've got plenty more offensive words where those came from.

Anonymous said...

It's happening here in mainstream uk schools. Pupils being fed a daily diet of censorship and hogwash in the name of 'education'. Truth is suppressed. There seems to be monopoly by publishers of course books, manipulation of the content and of course, syllabi. My own children said, when they left secondary school in the 1990s - 'We've got all these GCSEs, but we don't feel educated.'

Anonymous said...

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. The kids today, although smart when it comes to electronic, know nothing else, not event he basic tenants of our country and culture. I say, that since the folks at the head of the country's educational system started monkeying around with a better way to educate, seems there is less education. We need to go back to the basics and the hell with the rest of the BS. Thanks for letting me rant.

Anonymous said...

They must be going by the "memory hole" Party dictionary Winston Smith used when he worked in the Ministry of Truth.

Anonymous said...

if this concept angers you, but you can't seem to put your finger on why it angers you SO MUCH...I guarentee your gut instinct is right...they're doing this cause they want worse education, not better. I wonder why....

Anonymous said...

That's right, America, just bend over and continue to take 'the power' from behind.. you think you have a right and a say in anything? HAH! You're fooling yourselves and your neighbours until you get off your over-weight, under-privledged, narcassistic, anti-everybody, head-in-the-sand asses and #%^$ing do something! I'll say, I'm Canadian, but I'm at least pointing out to everyone I know the shady and off-beat/out-of-touch/not-to-the-public decisions these @&$ holes are making, in an attempt to wake them up, and get some answers as to what at least I can do and to what we can all do to get something going. But hey, I still have more rights than you yeah know, so maybe step-up your game and be my southern brothers and sisters that I loved for your hard-ass fighting spirit.. if I know it's not right, then you should be pretty clear on it, so do something and quit bickering amoungst yourselves and rally together like a family should!

Dillinger said...

time to take your children out of these fascist schools!

Anonymous said...

I fear these dumbed-down tests are designed to limit what kids say because they will be kept for later use, then 'posted' to their parents as if they were written on the day of the postmark.
When the authorities decide which kids have the potential to serve them and which kids are "useless eaters", they will all be taken away in a safety drill and seperated, then those of no use, like their parents who may themselves be in FEMA camps, will be disposed of somehow.
The idea is to give the impression of a typical letter sent by somebody who is no longer alive. (Who writes a letter to mum and talks about slavery, dinosaurs, aliens and so forth?)
Mick McNulty. England.

Robin Shadowes said...

This is cultural marxism running rampant. The purpose is exactly the same as in Orwell's 1984. To limit the language of the masses, one step at a time. This will result in a dumbed down population. Perfect for the puppet master's of the coming NWO.

Pure Sophistry said...

This proposal is shameful and is designed to fail utterly. We at Pure Sophistry took the issue to tackle the broader argument of offensive materials in the classroom (like editing Huckleberry Finn) and have created a poll so we can all vote on how to handle such materials. Hope the discussion continues!


Anonymous said...

In George Orwells 1984, they did the same thing. Eliminate words out of the vocabulary so as to destroy history.

I think the new language was called doublespeak if I remember correctly. That book was prophetic. My God!!

Post a Comment