New York City's Department of Education has taken political correctness to the extreme, banning such innocuous-sounding words as dinosaurs, Halloween and dancing on citywide tests.
The New York Post reports that the department recently sent out a proposal to companies hoping to provide tests to the city. It contained a list of words and topics that must be avoided because they “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”
-- Dinosaurs: Because not everybody believes in evolution
-- Halloween: Implies paganism
-- Dancing: Some religions ban it (ballet is okay, though)
-- Wealth & Poverty: Could make kids jealous
-- Divorce: Could upset children of divorce
And so on, some 50 topics long.
"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.
While this may sound absolutely ridiculous, education experts say it makes perfect sense.
"The intent is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge," said Robert Pondiscio, a spokesman for the Core Knowledge Foundation. "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."