New York Educrats Banned Dinosaur, Birthday, Dancing, and Halloween

Won't somebody think of the children? Actually, New York education bureaucrats are, in fact, thinking of the children when they banned references to dinosaurs, birthdays, dancing, and Halloween, lest kids got offended.

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. [...]

Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. Poverty is likewise on the forbidden list.

Also banned are references to divorces and diseases, because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill.

Officials say such exclusions are normal procedure.

Yoav Gonen of The New York Post has the story: Link

Edit 3/28/12: CBS New York has the complete list of the banned words.

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The article says that it is banning references to these things on statewide tests, not in the classroom. Sounds more like they're protecting themselves from angry parents whose kids don't do well and will want to blame something in the test.
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The words were only banned *on tests*, which your version of the story doesn't make too clear.

Personally I think it's fair enough. I don't think many people would be offended but I do think trying to make sure the tests are inclusive means everyone taking them is on a level footing as far as understanding what the question is asking goes.

And you only have to read a few threads on any general internet forum to know that even things like dinosaurs can trigger strong anti evolution rants from people xD There's always someone who'll claim that having to write a test answer about a topic they disagree with is a major violation of their rights, and while I don't agree with that point, I think for the sake of having the tests run smoothly, it's better to simply make sure that won't happen.
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