Remember the bizarro world of Footloose (this one, not that one) where dancing and rock music was banned in some small town because kids died in a rock-music-fueled car accident? Admittedly, today’s news out of New York City is a cat of a different color: New York City has established a list of words that are now banned from school standardized tests. And when you read this list, even if you’re the type of dude that often sides with The Man, you may just start packing your bags for Newt’s moon base.
The NYC Department of Education has put in their official request to the companies that prepare city-issued standardized tests for local schools. And while some words are undoubtedly touchy or emotional for particular segments of students, one wonders how we’ve come so far that mentioning swimming pools or computers in school has become taboo.
It’s not uncommon for cities to call for banned topics, in order to help kids focus on tests. But with over 50 such topics in NYC’s new guideline, they double other states’ requests for sensitivity standards. “Some of these topics may be perfectly acceptable in other contexts but do not belong in a city- or state-wide assessment,” states the request.
Because, we’ll assume, stories like THIS happen.
Here’s a short list of some of the more “inflammatory” topics in NYC’s request:
- Dinosaurs (because evolution is just a theory)
- Birthdays (Jehova’s Witnesses don’t celebrate these, y’know)
- TV / Celebrities
- Video Games (god forbid we make math fun by asking how many goombas Mario can jump on per hour)
- Computers in the home (because not everyone has one – computers will still be available in the classrooms though)
- Homes with Swimming Pools (we don’t want the 99% feeling bad that they don’t have one)
- Bodily Functions (what’s a math test without fart jokes?!)
- Junk Food (school lunches will still be arguably worse than junk food though)
- Occult Topics (like fortune telling)
- Politics (this is going to make AP government exams super difficult)
- Rock & Roll (damn kids and their rock & roll)
- Vermin (explained as “rats and roaches”)
- Violence / War
- Dancing (but not ballet)
- Vacations (no word on the banning of staycations though)
You can see a full list at CBS‘ recap of the topic.
Some experts (which is a term we use when we don’t have any specific names) say that including some of these sorts of topics might actually challenge children to think. Banning them doesn’t allow them to think through challenging topics. Ones that might be – gasp – foreign to them.
The New York Post also reportsthat “city officials also specified that test makers shouldn’t include items that are potentially ‘disrespectful to authority or authority figures,’ or give human characteristics to animals or inanimate objects.”
First of all, what? And second of all, how about this – we’ll just raise all of our children in a world that dares not make them feel bad or challenge any beliefs or socioeconomic situations. We’ll teach them to accept authority under any terms, shut up, go to sleep and let America do its thing. Because whatever thing we’ve been doing is clearly making people happy. What we’re creating is an educational system where we don’t value “worldly scholars” anymore – we’re attempting to hide differences instead of celebrate them.
Or how about this – with more nut allergies present in society now than ever, let’s not even mention nuts in the classroom because it may cause anaphylaxis during testing. Thank us later for saving your kid’s life, folks.
Folks, we’re dangerously close to burning books here. Just sayin’.