By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Anger boiled over in many of the comments on our recent post about the New York City Department of Education aiming to ban “loaded words,” including “dinosaur” and “birthdays” from standardized school tests, many of them apparently over religious sensitivities:
Oh-crying-out-loud!!! Stop worrying so much about offending people and get back to teaching!!! This is why every other nation is outranking us in education!!!
snowunbelievable.. lets add new words to the list… starting with "education" and "future"... geez!
Others raised questions about whether eliminating these words on tests would just mean these words would offend people more in their day-to-day lives:
If the kids won't encounter these words in school (where they are supposed to get basic learning/guidance on society & culture), I wonder how it'll be like for them someday if they hear/read these "banned" words elsewhere?
The Stanford prof is right. Education is not supposed to be "warm and fuzzy." It should make us uncomfortable and make us think. Dinosaurs making fundamentalists uncomfortable? Give me a break. Teaching that there were no dinosaurs isn't education, it's ignorance.
Many extrapolated from the story to decry what they said was a larger problem with political correctness and censorship:
On the topic of censorship as a whole, it is an outrageous irony. They censor words because a few in our diverse melting pot of culture may get "offended," but sheltering them from these "offensive" things only serves to further divides between us. So what if Jehovah's Witnesses may get "offended" by the word "birthdays?” They live in a country where the majority of people celebrate birthdays so they HAVE to learn how to deal with it and grow some skin. They have no choice.
This is one of the most upsetting things I've read in the news today. Schools, teachers, and parents need to stop coddling kids. They are the reason our lower education system is so lacking. Specifically, we need to raise the standards and stop sheltering our children from scary things like the unknown, new ideas, and personal failure. Otherwise, they will be unprepared for the REAL world, and our country will fall further behind than it already has!
Though few and far between, some people did support the measure, with caveats:
After writing a serious rant about all this, I reconsidered: This is – hopefully – about improving effectiveness in standardized testing, NOT about limiting pepperoni from school curricula. The goal of standardized testing is to effectively measure performance and/or knowledge. In order to do so effectively, the tests must work accurately and fairly for the population to be tested. This means removing cultural, social and religious references wherever possible. In the classroom, however, this kind of political correctness would be a disaster. All parents need to be vigilant to make sure our kids are shown the world the way it really is, and educated to come to their own conclusions about what's offensive.
And then there was this commenter:
In the words of that great philosopher Charlie Brown "Good Grief."