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NYC Bans Mention of Dinosaurs, Dancing, Birthdays On Student Tests 470

Posted by Soulskill
from the prepositions-banned-for-being-too-elitist dept.
New submitter SchroedingersCat writes "New York educators banned references to 'dinosaurs,' 'birthdays,' 'Halloween' and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests. That is because they fear such topics 'could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.' Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays are not celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism. Homes with swimming pools and home computers are also unmentionables — because of economic sensitivities. The city asks test companies to exclude 'creatures from outer space' as well — for unspecified reasons."
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NYC Bans Mention of Dinosaurs, Dancing, Birthdays On Student Tests

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  • April fools (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:01PM (#39502469)

    April 1st is a few days away still yet...

    • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:05PM (#39502523)

      That's what I was thinking, is this an Onion article that got out of control?

      They live in New York. Isn't the slogan "Fuck you and piss on your corpse."?

      • by jhoegl (638955)
        Ask Madonna that last question

        But this is pretty surprising... I mean, it seems very unreal.
      • by AmigaMMC (1103025)
        What happens if the test is about the Mesozoic? No mention of life form in that case? Let's pretend all there was was insects and fish?
        • by Genda (560240) <mariet.got@net> on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:29PM (#39502799) Journal

          Sorry, no can do... the earth is only 6,000 years old, in fact the universe is only 6,000 years old and all them fossils were the result of the great flood! God has an incredible sense of humor... he created a brand new universe that was already 14 billion years old, just to test our faith. Who do you believe, your eyes or God?

          • Re:April fools (Score:5, Insightful)

            by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:41PM (#39502903) Journal
            How old is Maggie Simpson, or Mickey Mouse? I'm not saying that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, but if a God did create something to look 14 billion years old, then that's how old it would look despite our best testing.
            • by Monchanger (637670) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:07PM (#39503187) Journal

              It's been a long time since I studied this in detail back in school, but I'm pretty sure that Maggie Simpson and Mickey Mouse are "fiction".

              Kind of like the story of creation.

            • by ancienthart (924862) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:10PM (#39503215)
              So, basically you're saying that God is the spiritual/intellectual equivalent of a Rick-Roller?
            • by FrootLoops (1817694) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @09:30PM (#39504373)

              That's just a test. God values faith very highly, far above living morally (which is impossible). Making scientific evidence which contradicts His word is just a way to solidify our faith.

              The righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
                      - Romans 3:21

              All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."

              Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
                      - Galatians 3:10-11, 23-25

              Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
                      - James 1:2-3

              The science is wrong. It's just a test. No matter what people say I will keep my faith. God told me to expect this in advance:

              Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
                      - Luke 6:22

              Now go away. I've got other things to think about:

              Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
                      - Philippians 4:6-8

              ...like pure, lovely, honest gay butt sex between men who love each other.

            • Re:April fools (Score:5, Insightful)

              by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:07AM (#39505501) Journal

              It's called omphalism, and the minute you invoke it to explain away inconvenient time spans, you open the door to concepts like Last Thursdayism. If God can make a 6,000 year old universe look 13.8 billion years old, then why not a six second old universe look 13.8 billion years old? At the end of the day, it's just another form of epistemological nihilism

      • by flyneye (84093)

        Apparently , that's the slogan that will appear on the tag of NYCs fleet of "short buses".

    • by PremiumCarrion (861236) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:18PM (#39503297)

      I'm more upset that my religion which bans mention of the words "new", "york" and "city" hasn't been considered.

      Damn those insensitive clods who I'm unable to refer to.

  • Nobody... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:02PM (#39502485)
    ...puts T-Rex in a corner.
  • Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lightknight (213164) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:03PM (#39502495) Homepage

    And there was a time when people would strive to find things that challenged them, if only to learn more about themselves.

    • by dintech (998802) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:12PM (#39502617)

      MATHS TEST FOR STATE SCHOOLS
      Name:
      Nickname:
      Gang Name:

      1. Simon has 0.5 kilos of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Matt for 300 quid and 90 grams to Ollie
      for 90 quid, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?

      2. Damon pimps 3 bitches. If the price is GBP40 a ride, how many jobs per day must each bitch
      perform to support Damon's GBP500 a day coke habit?

      3. Crackster wants to cut the kilo of cocaine he bought for 7,000 quid to make a 20% profit. How
      many grams of Strychnine will he need?

      4. Trev got 6 years for murder. He also got GBP350,000 for the hit. If his common law wife
      spends GBP33,100 per month, how much money will be left when he gets out?
      Extra Credit Bonus: How much more time will Trev get for killing the slapper that spent his
      money?

      5. If an average can of spray paint covers 22 square metres and the average letter is 1 square metre,
      how many letters can be sprayed with eight fluid ounce cans of spray paint with 20% extra paint
      free ?

      6. Liam steals Jordan's skateboard. As Liam skates away at a speed of 35mph, Jordan loads his
      brother's Armalite. If it takes Jordan 20 seconds to load the gun, how far will Liam have travelled
      when he gets whacked?

      MATHS TEST FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS
      Name:

      (If longer please continue on a separate sheet)
      School:
      Daddy's/Mummy's Company:

      1. Harry smashes up the old man's car, causing x amount of damage and killing 3 people. The old
      man asks his local Chief Constable to intervene in the court system, then forges his insurance claim
      and receives a payment of y. The difference between x and y is three times the life insurance
      settlement for the three dead people. What kind of car is Harry driving now?

      2. Fiona's personal shopper decides to substitute generic and own-brand products for the designer
      goods favoured by her employer. In the course of a month she saves the price of a return ticket to
      Fiji and Fiona doesn't even notice the difference. Is she thick or what?

      3. Tristram fancies the arse off a certain number of debutants, but he only has enough Rohypnol left
      to render 33.3% unconscious. If he has 14 tablets of Rohypnol, how is he ever going to shag the
      other two thirds?

      4. If Verity throws up 4 times a day for a week she can fit into a size 8 Versace. If she only throws
      up 3 times a day for two weeks, she has to make do with a size 10 Dolce & Gabbana. How much
      does liposuction cost?

      5. Henry is unsure about his sexuality. Three days a week he fancies women. On the other days he
      fancies men, ducks and vacuum cleaners. However he only has access to the Hoover every third
      week. When will he stand for parliament?

    • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:15PM (#39502663)

      RTamerica has more about WHY they did this. The reasons ALMOT make sense..... if you want children to grow-up with no ability to deal with stressful words/ideas.

      "Dinosaurs were thrown out, for example, as they call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists. Birthdays shouldnâ(TM)t be mentioned because they arenâ(TM)t celebrated by Jehovahâ(TM)s Witnesses. Halloween appeared on the black list as it suggests paganism. Dancing is taboo, because some sects object..... Terrorism was considered too scary. Poverty is on the forbidden list as well as words that suggest wealth because they could make kids jealous. Divorces, as well as diseases, are also set to be forbidden in order to not traumatize kids having relatives who split from spouses or are ill.

      "Officials say they are simply trying to avoid topics that "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.' " - http://rt.com/usa/news/school-test-list-ban-656/ [rt.com]

      • by Genda (560240)

        What would a person have to believe in these days to even get a rise out of society... perhaps this?

        More important, why are we letting the mouth breathers and knuckle draggers dictate what our children will experience? Are we in fact trying to homogenize our young into a consistent state of profound stupidity? Is that now the goal of public education?

        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @10:16PM (#39504671)

          More important, why are we letting the mouth breathers and knuckle draggers dictate what our children will experience?

          Slow down. City-mandated standardized progress tests should not be the only thing that your children experience. You get to dictate what they experience at home. The "professional educators" get to dictate what they experience at school.

          That latter statement is why "we" are letting TMB and KD dictate, because we've turned the education of the children over to professionals that get paid to keep studying what the best way to educate children is. "Common sense" would mean an end to almost all education degrees and grants for education research.

          I lived through the change from "old math" to "new math". I saw the math that kids were being taught a few years ago and it bore no resemblance to math as far as I could tell. I no longer wonder why high school graduates can't figure out your change when they sell you a burger.

          Now, for the people who are insulting the yokels upstate and blaming them for this, if you read the fine article, you'd note that it is New York City officials calling for this, not New York State or Syracuse or Albany or Buffalo or Rochester.

          Are we in fact trying to homogenize our young into a consistent state of profound stupidity? Is that now the goal of public education?

          We are trying to equalize outcomes because equal outcomes is a measurement proxy for equal opportunity. If all the kids get the same score on tests, then they all obviously had equal opportunity to learn. (If there are 5% of male students playing school-organized softball then "equal opportunity" means that there will be 5% of female students playing school-organized softball. Even if only 1% of the female students want to play softball. This IS how schools are evaluated in Oregon.)

          Equalizing outcomes means slowing down the faster learners, thus bringing the average down, further lowering the "average standards", slowing the faster learners down even more. We're seeing the unanticipated consequences of valuing self-esteem over knowledge.

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jamstar7 (694492) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:31PM (#39502817)
      I'd love to know how they can call this 'No Child Left Behind' if they're never picked up in the first place. Seriously, they expect their kids to compete in the Real World when they can't teach natural history, history, science, and math?

      Oh, well, it was an interesting civilization while it lasted. Time for my Mandarin lesson...
  • Nuts (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:04PM (#39502505)

    You know something is wrong when real life seems like a South Park episode.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I now feel the need to write a single test question that involves every item on this list.

  • by Hartree (191324) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:05PM (#39502525)

    Shouldn't they just ban the tests, since tests make many students feel uncomfortable?

    • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:31PM (#39502813) Homepage Journal

      Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?

      • by MachDelta (704883) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:17PM (#39503291)

        My PolSci prof went on a rant today (after explicitly singling out the Education students) about how teachers are actually glorified HR managers trained to "identify problems and then direct them towards a specialist" in order to conform and "normalize" children, and that any "learning" that happens along the way is purely accidental. Then he accused the entire class of being illiterate (having seen several of our written-in-class short essay/exams) but clarified it by stating that no one needs to learn learn to spell anyways; we just need to learn to use a computer (eg: spell check).

        It was part of a larger rant on historicism, positivism, and the soulless guts of a technological society.

        He's a pretty entertaining prof.
        His exams do suck though.

  • Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cosgrach (1737088) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:05PM (#39502535)

    This is about the stupidest thing that I have read all day. These people need to grow up.

    • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:47PM (#39503597)

      These people need to grow up.

      Poor choice of words. Adults are far more bitchy when it comes to hurt feelings than kids. Kids cry it out when their feelings get hurt, 5 mins later, they've forgotten about it. Grownups make idiotic, shortsighted changes in the laws when they get their feelings hurt.

      • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @09:25PM (#39504347)
        This isn't about bitchiness, it's just another stupid sensationalist headline amplified by slashdot, as usual lately.

        None of these things are banned from curriculum, nor are they banned from being spoken of our taught.

        The purpose of avoiding emotionally-laden terms on standardized tests is prevent biasing the test against any students. It is amply proven that emotional influences interfere with what the test is supposed to be measuring - knowledge and ability. Since this impact would be different on kids with different cultural backgrounds, those questions would be biased one way or another. This is simply a matter of good test design by eliminating unwanted variables.

        But whatever. Everybody go back to your ignorant whinging. No need to know anything about what you're commenting on when you've got "common sense" on your side.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:06PM (#39502541)

    Question: A man walks into his house and flips the switch to his 60-watt lightbulb for 8 hours. How many kWh does the lightbulb use?

    Answer: None, because his electricity was disconnected several months ago due to the economic downturn.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Obfuscant (592200)

      Question: A man walks into his house and flips the switch to his 60-watt lightbulb for 8 hours. How many kWh does the lightbulb use?

      Answer: you cannot answer the question because the lightbulb is a modern CFL that is rated at 60W for light output but uses much less energy. The amount of energy depends on the specific brand and how modern the bulb is. Oops, the correct answer is "close to zero" because the CFL just burned out, but the electronics in the base still draw current anyway. (For "lightbulbs" that last so long, I seem to be replacing them on a regular basis.)

  • by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:06PM (#39502555)

    "Test", because it evokes unpleasant emotions.
    "New York", because it could be associated with stupidity.
    "Student", because that could be mistaken for somebody that wants to learn and has an open mind.

    Seriously, there is a limit. Modern human beings should have a reasonable level of tolerance for ideas that are not their own, and only reject them after they have looked at them carefully. (Yes, that includes actually looking at creationism and concluding for yourself that it is stupid.) They absolutely must have an open mind for all things scientific.

  • You know? The one where the psychologist chick fills his head with hundreds of "sensitivity" politically correct directives, transforming him into a total dumbass?

    Except in this case, its the city making schools look that way.

    NYC needs to wake up and smell the sewerage, and accept that you can't please everyone and it is retarded to try.

  • by malraid (592373) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:09PM (#39502595)
    I hope they get rid of those two. Because I just lost all my faith in humanity. “I Don't Want to Live on this Planet Anymore”
    • by TWX (665546)
      NO OUTER SPACE QUESTIONS!

      They've banned outer space creatures! You can't do that!
  • by Cazekiel (1417893) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:11PM (#39502609)

    Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays are not celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism.

    Once again, religious sensitivities prevail over having an eclectic set of experiences in the world around us. And mentioning swimming pools equates to classism? We're asking our kids to not acknowledge things in existence. What next? Closing down art museums because holy-hell, some features paintings with naked people? For real, can we get a grip already? Dinosaurs. They're worried about mentioning. Fucking. Dinosaurs.

    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:12PM (#39503243) Homepage Journal

      This makes perfect sense to me, you see this Dinosaur from outer-space decided to have a pool party for his birthday but no one came. He didn't relize that it was Halloween and all his friends where out trick or treating. Well he was so upset he made a map of his school in and practiced his assault using doom3. Latter that week he followed his plan a put peanuts all over the school and all the students died of allergic reactions. Of course that evil Dinosaur was a Fox news watching Muslim member of the the tea-party. It did happen but the media covered it all up a friend of mine was there and told me. You see real problem was that he was sensitive to EM radiation and the wifi drove him crazy. I blame it on his getting vaccinated as a child Dinosaur from outer space.

    • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:18PM (#39503295) Homepage

      They banned mention of Halloween becZause it suggests paganism. How do they suppose that makes the Pagan kids feel? They have just been told (indirectly) by the state that the mere mention of their religion is offensive.

      • Not pagan, Christian (Score:5, Informative)

        by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @10:52PM (#39504893) Journal

        They banned mention of Halloween because it suggests paganism.

        Hallowe'en is short for "All Hallows Eve" is a Christian feast coming before All Saints Day (see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]). While it was conveniently timed to coincide with a traditional pagan holiday so was Christmas. Hence Hallowe'en suggests paganism as much as Christmas does.

        I suggest a new rule: those put in charge of education should be required to have had one.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:50PM (#39503625)
      I'd propose a ban on religion. I'd be willing to settle out of the legislature if religious people would agree to also stop trying to push their legislative agendas on the rest of us.
  • by jd (1658)

    The small furry creature from Alpha Centauri is now feeling discriminated against!

    Seriously, there's a lot wrong with tests - they generally measure your test-taking ability not your skill/knowledge in the subject, any test that can be passed by a simple keyword recognition system is measuring your memory only, etc - but the "problems" given are not amongst the things wrong.

    It is CERTAINLY wrong not to mention evolution - if you want to take an R.E. exam, that's down the hall, third on your right, through t

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:17PM (#39502671) Homepage Journal
    There's a reason JWs don't celebrate birthdays. Both mentions of birthdays in the Bible, one in the Hebrew Scriptures and one in the Greek Scriptures, ended up with the birthday boy ordering someone's execution. See Genesis 40:20-22 and Mark 6:21-27.
    • That reminds me of the first season of Spartacus...
    • There's a reason JWs don't celebrate birthdays. Both mentions of birthdays in the Bible, one in the Hebrew Scriptures and one in the Greek Scriptures, ended up with the birthday boy ordering someone's execution. See Genesis 40:20-22 and Mark 6:21-27.

      So the lesson is... people with birthdays are assholes?

    • by Cazekiel (1417893) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:30PM (#39502811)

      My birthday's coming up on Sunday, April 1st. I celebrate it, even though I can't tell you how many times I was subjected to intricate pranks. The worst one? When I was around 9 or 10, my mom came into my room to wake me up and said, "Hey... it snowed a ton last night, and they canceled school," only to leap outta bed, look out my window and see nothing but sunshine and green grass. The scarring. Oh, the scarring... I may as WELL have been executed. Woe is me!

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:21PM (#39502711)
    Next on the list, they should either:
    A) Ban children from libraries, or
    B) Ban any books than mention any of these subjects
  • Test limitations (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danielpauldavis (1142767) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:22PM (#39502735)
    Does anyone realize that some test-takers don't know what a "pillow" is? So yeah, the poor kid will stare at some word, wondering what it is, get a worse than accurate score, because the test is testing something that WASN'T TAUGHT IN CLASS. That's what this little rule is trying to avoid. Fair testing for all. 'Bout time.
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:27PM (#39502779)

    I knew a woman who worked as a kindergarten teacher. She had a bunch of Jehovah's Witnesses kids in her class. When any of those JW kids annoyed her past her tolerance limit (which if you are a Kindergarten teacher must be pretty high to start with) she would send home a note to the parent mentioning that they would be celebrating another kids birthday that week. When the JW parents saw such notes they would yank their kids from school for that day - thus instant relief! The kicker was that the parents never worked out that they celebrated more birthdays during the year than there were kids in the class.
     
    And to dick with the parents some more she used to make sure all the kids knew how to sing "Happy Birthday".
     
    On the flip side I once had some JW come to the door soliciting their beliefs .. on Christmas day .. with kids in tow. Talk about cruel to the kids.

    • Re:Years ago .. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Cazekiel (1417893) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:38PM (#39502873)

      A small part of me says "dude, that's kind of an abuse of power, not sure I agree with that on an ethical level."

      A large part of me says "FUCK ethics, give that teach a raise."

      • Re:Years ago .. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BitwiseX (300405) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @10:15PM (#39504669)

        A large part of me says "FUCK ethics, give that teach a raise."

        We're marking that insightful now? Listen, I was one of those kids. I took shit about my beliefs from teachers and students alike, and when it comes from teachers it will fuck you up majorly. Having someone you are supposed to be able to trust ridicule you for your beliefs or for your family's beliefs. THAT is cruel.
        It is hard to be a JW and go to public schools. It shouldn't be. I thought this was America.

        Christians attacking other Christians..... *sigh*

        • I think the point is that nobody cares what you believe. But if your beliefs are such that you force everyone else to censor themselves around you, then yes, you will draw ridicule. The ridicule shouldn't come from teachers but I'm not surprised that happens.

          I can't think of any subject that bog-standard Christians forbid from being mentioned in public. Homosexuals, maybe? The theory that Christ was a black man? No, I've seen fundamentalists discussing that in reasonable tones. The Albigensian heresy?

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:34PM (#39502851) Journal
    It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought ... should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.
  • Halloween... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aryden (1872756) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @06:43PM (#39502925)

    and Halloween suggests paganism.

    You mean the religions that most of the christian holidays are based on in the first place?

  • by davids-world.com (551216) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:17PM (#39503289) Homepage
    This is tyranny of a set of minorities, who all expect to have their irrational beliefs respected and tolerated. Is this another instance of what the ecologist Hardin called the Tragedy of the Commons? By making use of simple, seemingly reasonable demands, a large number of individuals exploits a shared resource (culture, education) up to the point where the total of the actions disables the system. Religious and political freedom may now destroy the education system and with it the environment that makes these freedoms viable in the first place.
  • by bdwoolman (561635) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:19PM (#39503305) Homepage

    How do well-intentioned people paint themselves into such ridiculous corners? It really beats me. Unpleasant emotions are part of life. Tests are supposed to be pleasant? Since when? And since when do people need to be insulated from customs in which they don't take part? A JW kids knows he does not get a birthday party. He is probably proud of the fact that he doesn't; that is, if he has bought into his religion and is proud of that. But he should know that other kids do celebrate birthdays and then be taught to be glad for them. No mention of Hanukkah because some celebrate only Christmas or vice versa? Please. And some other kids celebrate Ramadan and Kwanzaa etc etc. It is called diversity and reasonable people think it is a good thing.

    Dinosaurs in the fossil record are established scientific fact. Kids love dinosaurs. There is no controversy concerning them. Especially in a public school setting. Has NYC suddenly gone creationist? If this were in Kansas I might not be surprised. But NYC? Whoa. Come on. No school trips to the natural history museum, kids. They teach "science" there. WTF! If somebody's kid freaks because evolution is invoked he should be counseled. Or, if his parents are also freaked, then they can send him to a religious school that provides a spiritual non-scientific view of the universe. Public schools should try to teach facts.

    Most kids celebrate Halloween, which has pagan roots. So? So do many religious customs. Candle lighting echoes Zoroastrian fire worship. No one should make a kid participate in Halloween fun, of course. But he should know that some people do like to do so. If a kid feels bad because his parents won't let him. Tough. Kids feel bad all the time because their parents restrict their behavior for religious and other family centric reasons.

    Lastly. I do agree about the space aliens. They have no place on a test about the real world because there is no evidence to date that they exist. I will concede that it stands to reason that they are out there (Thanks, Dr Sagan.). But no one has delivered up any credible proof to date. So no aliens for the children. No aliens whatsoever. And that is final.

    PS If this is a pre-April Fools joke by Rupe and his no-ethics thugs at News Corp to make us liberals look bad, then I have been punked into a rant. But screw them. Fake news is not funny when it has an ulterior political motive. Hmmm. The more I think about this the more likely I think it is that this nasty story is a News Corp send up. But what the heck. I'll post and be punked.

  • by Zakabog (603757) <john.jmaug@com> on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:24PM (#39503359)

    Speaking as someone born and raised in NYC all I have to say is, what... the... fuck!

    I did a glance over the summary and thought 'Oh some bible belt city banned mentioning dinosaurs on city tests, hah!' Then I did a double take and read NYC...

    We have community pools, the natural history museum that every city school seems to visit (featuring the only thing most kids remember, THE DINOSAUR EXHIBIT) and paintings of the virgin mary made from elephant shit. If there was a place any of these things might offend a group of people, this isn't it!

    I can't believe this PC bullshit actually made it past the board of ed without any parents kicking up a shitstorm...

  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @08:23PM (#39503875) Homepage

    So you're not going to mention dinosaurs, which existed (rational evidence given by their fossilized bones), because it might ruffle some people who believe in something for which there is no rational evidence?

    Say, don't creationists simply believe that dinosaurs were created and are therefore not offended by dinosaurs?

  • by awilden (110846) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @09:32PM (#39504391)
    While I acknowledge the apparent insanity of the political correctness that seems to be the cause of this case, these sorts of exclusions are there for a reason. Tests should evaluate the topics they're designed to evaluate, not grade people on how "normal" their family background is. As an example, my mom was a nurse for a head start preschool and when she was going through records she noticed one kid had been labeled as having a low IQ. She could see he clearly wasn't dumb, so she looked into where the label came from. One of the main causes was that during an IQ test the kid was shown a picture of a birthday cake and he didn't recognize it and said it was a candle pie. A little research showed that he was a member of a religious group that didn't believe in celebrating birthdays, so he literally had never seen a birthday cake before.
    PCness can certainly get out of control, and it sounds like it has in this case, but this is a serious topic. There are consequences for low scores on tests. This kid had been labeled dumb because he had never seen a birthday cake. When low scores are based on some sort of cultural gap, that's punishing kids who come from social groups that are out of the mainstream. Kids from _all_ social groups should be required to learn the same material, and as an example, I strongly object to parents keeping their kids from being taught evolution because of their religious beliefs. At the same time I think it's wrong to test kids on topics related to evolution (including dinosaurs) before the school has taught you about them.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.

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