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April 3rd, 2012
12:52 PM ET

New York pulls plans to ban words from standardized tests

NYC had initially sought to keep words like "dinosaur" and "Halloween" off standardized school tests.

By Brian Vitagliano, CNN

New York (CNN) - One week after New York's Department of Education drew controversy with a request to ban 50 words and references from the city's standardized tests – including “dinosaur,” “birthday” and "religion" – the department announced Tuesday that it is abandoning the plan.

"After reconsidering our message to test publishers and the reaction from parents, we will revise our guidance and eliminate the list of words to avoid on tests,” New York Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said in a statement.

“We will continue to advise companies to be sensitive to student backgrounds and avoid unnecessary distractions that could invalidate test scores and give an inaccurate assessment of how students are doing," the statement continued.

The list of words New York hoped to ban from tests was made public when the city’s education department released this year’s "request for proposal" for test publishers across the country. The city is looking for vendors to revamp math and English tests for its students.

The list of words, which included “divorce,” “Halloween,” “Christmas” and “television,” attracted considerable criticism, with many alleging it was political correctness gone too far.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

In its request for proposal, the NYC Department of Education explained that it wanted to avoid certain words if "the topic is controversial among the adult population and might not be acceptable in a state-mandated testing situation; the topic has been overused in standardized tests or textbooks and is thus overly familiar and/or boring to students; the topic appears biased against (or toward) some group of people."

Matthew Mittenthal, a spokesman for the NYC Department of Education, said last week that this is the fifth year his agency has created such a list. The request for proposal said certain words "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students."

Apparently, many of the words on New York’s list were avoided because of faith-based concerns.

For instance, the use of the word "birthday" or the phrase "birthday celebrations" may offend Jehovah's Witnesses, who do not celebrate birthdays. A representative for the Jehovah's Witnesses declined to comment on the use of the word "birthday."

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The Department of Education would not go on the record to explain the specific reasons for each word, leaving many to draw their own conclusions.

"Halloween" may suggest paganism; "divorce" may conjure up uneasy feelings for children in the midst of split within their family. The term "rock 'n' roll" was also on the "avoid" list.

The New York Post speculated that the "dinosaurs" could "call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists."

Stanford University professor Sam Wineburg, director of Stanford’s History Education Group, welcomed Tuesday’s announcement.

“It is a courageous move,” he said. “Any time educators reverse a decision that was public, which received air time in the press, it's an act of courage and to recover a position of common sense."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: New York • Schools

soundoff (580 Responses)
  1. Heyzeus

    I’m really upset if the dinosaurs are extinct because Noah couldn’t fit them on the Ark but had room for skunks and sloths. I could be walking a RAPTOR in the morning instead of a dog.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • wackyjabber

      who said that?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  2. Mark D. Haszard

    Jehovah's Witnesses reject Birthdays all holidays,Thanksgiving even benign Mother's day.
    The Watchtower leaders want to be 'different' for the sake of being different.Jehovah's Witnesses are a dysfunctional group from the get-go .
    Christmas-Jesus was not born on exactly Dec 25th,but he also did not have his *invisible* second coming in the month of October 1914,a falsehood that is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.
    -
    *tell the truth don't be afraid-*-Danny Haszard

    April 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Jay

      You're only partially right. JW's do reject holidays because of their pagan origins or ties to other religions. As for 1914, It is not viewed as Christ's "second coming". Talk to a Witness and get your facts straight.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Jay

      I also wouldn't label them dysfunctional. From what I've seen they are the only "Christians" who actually practice what they preach. They are TRUE CHRISTIANS. Compare what they say, with what they do, compared to all other professed "christians". There is a BIG difference.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • smeeker

      If the post office is going broke, why not just have the Jehovahs Witnesses deliver the mail?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • wackyjabber

      @smeeker, that is a great idea! the delivery service would be free and the mail carriers would pay the watchtower for the privilege.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      No, they definitely do believe Jesus came invisibly in 1914 and inspected all the religions to find that the (as they were known then) Bible students were the ones doing it right. The only reason the brought the invisible aspect into play is because Rutherford had predicted the end of the world in 1914. He was so lucky the Great War broke out so that he could claim it was the start of the end of the world. Jehovah's Witnesses still stick to that date even though they base it off of an incorrect date for Babylon destroying Jerusalem.

      Sincerely,
      Ex-Jehovah's Witness

      April 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  3. Sid Airfoil

    It does a disservice to children to protect them from being offended. They'll run into a lot of offensive ideas in adulthood. Besides, instead of avoiding conflict with people who might not be exposed to some of these ideas at home, the Board of EDUCATION should EDUCATE students about those concepts so they are adequately prepared for the tests. As for those parents who don't want their children to learn certain things out of religious intolerance and ignorance, the school board should PICK a fight with them, and remind them that they have the choice of taking their kids out of the public schools and putting them into religious brainwashing factories.

    Sid

    April 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • H in Texas

      Dude, there is no hell except having to listen to the mindless drivel of sky king believers as they keep our world in the dark ages. Years from now people will read about your beliefs and think of them the same as people today think of the Greek gods. As what they are: Mythology.

      April 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Jay

      Watch out everyone some super goo fell on H in Texas and imbued their personage with all the wisdom of the universe in thier short lifetime! All hail the prophet of all ages and knowledge king of his own vomit and speeches! Dude you are not an expert on anything so maybe you should open your mind to others so they can help you deal with the world where it is obvious that 80-90% of the human race are belivers in Intelligent Design!

      April 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  4. Jay

    I have no problem with evolution being taught as a THEORY...they are having a lot of trouble reconciling huge blooms of biodiversity which evolution must have to occur. Nearly every crossover species has come into question as well. Besides if God and His angels created it all in 6000 years I'd be stupid to think I had all the answers to how the entire universe was created and then tell God what I think of it. Food for thought anyways. It's more important that we teach diversity and then we will have a truely American education.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So how many Creation myths should be taught in science class?
      There are hundreds and hundreds of them...

      April 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • I wonder

      It could get sort of confusing though:

      2 angels + 3 angels = 0 angels (in reality).

      April 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Nah

      It's amazing how easily you can troll by being this obvious about your trolling.

      Must say something about the intelligence of the people on here that you offend.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Sid Airfoil

      No. It's more important that we teach FACTS. ANd the fact that evolution is as yet an INCOMPLETE concept does not make it wrong. More important, it definitely does NOT make other "theories" equally plausible. You make the same mistake all theists make. You correctly point out that evolution is imperfect and incomplete and then erroneously conclude that your myths, therefore, are JUST AS likely to be true. Nonsense. Evolution has TONS of empirical and reasoned evidence to support it. Your creation fables have NONE. That neither of them meets the standard of ABSOLUTE knowledge does not make them equally valid. Stop trying to hide your irrationality behind "diversity".

      Sid

      April 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • UncleM

      Thank you Sid.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Jay

      Nahh...I think some of you ardent evolutionists and aethists are being very unrelenting toward a huge cross-section of our faithful American society. I think what I was saying was trying to bridge the differences so we can all get our sanit back!? I guess putting belivers in a jail somewhere would pacify you evolutionists? That's totally unreasonable in a great country like ours...words of all types are just fine with me! They are all American in my estimation.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Primewonk

      "I have no problem with evolution being taught as a THEORY...they are having a lot of trouble reconciling huge blooms of biodiversity which evolution must have to occur. Nearly every crossover species has come into question as well. "

      You need to understand that in science nothing is higher than a theory. Theories never get promoted to fact or law. Theories exist to explain sets of facts and laws.

      You claim that science has a lot of trouble "reconciling huge blooms of biodiversity which evolution must have to occur." This makes no sense. Perhaps you could rephrase this so it means something.

      You also said, "Nearly every crossover species has come into question as well. " This is meaningless, in a science sense as well. Can you rephrase this one as well?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Jay

      Now who's trolling...I'm a fairly well versed American and believe that evolution and aethism don't trump nearly 80-90% of the worlds population who are faithful...I may agree that evolutionists and aethisists may have some issues with understanding they are part of the rest of the beleiving world thouth...LOL Now, stop trying to troll me into evolution and aetheism when faith is just as good if not better to believe in!

      April 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Faith is not a virtue.
      It is the willing cessation of rational inquiry.
      It is the acceptance of a proposition despite a lack of evidence.
      One may bask by faith's warming fire or one may live in the harsh coldness of reality – but one may not have both.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • captain america

      Which part of canada is New York in doc? go screw up your own country leave ours to US. There's your sign

      April 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jay

      By the way, biodiversity is the evolutionist viewpoint that say a certain animal underwent a huge amount of change in a realitvely short era of time. Crossover species means an animals biological makeup which shows it has cross the boundary from say a fish to a lizard, or dinosaur to bird. Scientists are in sharp dispute over whether these "Theories" work...right now it some scientists say it looks like each creature pretty much looked the same until extinction...thus this changing between species may not be the way it happened.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • HellBent

      @Jay,

      You realize that theories of gravity are disputed far more than theories of evolution, correct? And that just because there are different, very incopmlete theories of gravity doesn't invalidate the phenomenon of gravity, correct?

      April 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jay

      Yes, Hellbent, that is my point precisely, Facts abound in every facet of our thoughts. It is my opinion that "Theory" is someones annectdotal opinion on what they think happened in the absence of knowing everything. When evolution is taken into context and postulates that humans won the lottery of a series of mistakes is laughable when I can do the math on just 10 of these supposed mistakes taking place in the exact path that theorists propose (he number becomes quite astronomical)! When I think scientists ask us all to believe this lottery of mistakes happened on the order of the hundreds, thousands and millions of times they claim it did it really becomes absurd...even a trillion years can't support that kind of lottery.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • HellBent

      Yeah, you totally missed the point, and your understanding of evolution is highly tenuous, at best. You realize that the exact same process that gives us theories for gravities also gives us the various flavors of the theory of evolution. Obviously, you think that the scientific method is flawed. Why do you think it works for some set of phenomenon and not others?

      April 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Jay

      By the way, the likelihood of evoultion happening is on the order of a wind blowing through a junk pile and accidentally creating a fully functional 747.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Jay

      Yes, gravity is important as it also can bend time. Thus why it is possible the earth may be only 6000 years old or billions of years old depending on how time worked on mass within our area of the universe. As for it proving evolution is correct...that I have to contest as the facts don't always add up...thus evolution will always be a theory until we can put the whole thing under a microscope and say we know everythng about it. In reality, none of us was there and thus it is not provable by eyewitness testimony or science which didn't even exist until us humans created it. What a self licking ice cream cone evolution is!

      April 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • H in Texas

      Just give it up. Jay will keep his fingers in his ears yelling out the name of his favorite mythical creator until the day he dies. At that point as he is spiraling into the darkness of loss of brain function and there are not magic lights or beings greeting him and his synapses fire a few last spurts, he'll have this one last thought: "@#%#, I was totally wrong." Don't worry Jay, the endorphins will help ease the sting.

      April 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Jay

      Thanks H, you just proved my point with evolutionists...all close minded when presented any other reason for life on planet earth! I'll be puttin my fingers in my ears to only your texts...LOL To the others all I wanted to say in my blog was that we in America need to stop the hate talk so we can see each other as equals...I thought that was what America was all about...guess some of you evolutionists think otherwise!

      April 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Jay

      Evolution = RIght = H Loses nothing but sting of death

      God = Right = H loses everything and still suffers sting of death, hell, etc.

      April 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • rom

      Sounds like Jay has done mad lib with a science book 🙂

      April 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • H in Texas

      Dude, there is no hell except having to listen to the mindless drivel of sky king believers as they keep our world in the dark ages. Years from now people will read about your beliefs and think of them the same as people today think of the Greek gods. As what they are: Mythology..

      April 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • lol

      evolution is just a theory, just like gravity and the shape of the earth......

      April 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Jay

      Doc maybe all of them would be appropriate since evolutionist want every lame and unsupported fact they come up with to go in the mix...so, why not all the other side of the story?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  5. Nonimus

    I'll make a wager with anyone for $1 that none of the words on the list will be on any proposed test that NY BOE receives.

    The test makers already have the list, why would any of them include the words?

    April 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  6. JT

    To fundi Christians, "dinosaur" doesn't offend for they subscribe to the Flintstone theory that humans and dinosaurs lived side by side and were used as domesticated animals 6000 years ago. They didn't make it onto the ark for some reason and their bones are now fossilized by satan to fool and send evil science believers to hell.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Heyzeus

      A Brontosaurus would have been WAY too BIG for the Ark, I mean it was hard enough to fit all the animals we have now on a boat the size of the Santa Maria.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • jim22

      I like your explanation.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Agnostic

      Christianity makes perfect sense if you’re a sheep herder born 2000 years ago or if you’ve been told since birth you will burn in hell for eternity if you don’t believe.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Noah was actually from Gallifrey and he built a TARDIS ark.
      Problem solved.
      Amen.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • JT

      Of course God/Jesus whatever, could have simply sprinkled pixi dust on one pair of each type of dinosaur and shrunk them down to the size of a mouse and had them put aboard. That's as good explanation as any.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Heyzeus,
      Everyone knows that the Ark's Lido deck was a miraculous cryogenic storage facility with the embryos of all species on ice, or on liquid nitrogen, actually.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  7. Mike

    Panties!!!! Ahhhh, now I'm really offended!

    April 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Truefax

      Me to they should be outlawed.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  8. MeowTV2

    This is a HUGE victory for the dinosaurs, and i'm sure they would appreciated it, if they not extinct for millions of years....... Seriously, concerning EDUCATION, dont you thin there is more urgent matter to debate on?

    April 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      According to fundamentalist xtians, dinosaurs have only been missing for a couple of thousand years – not millions.
      And they lived side by side with humans. Don't you know that the Flintstones is historically accurate?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      If education administrators can keep the conversation fixed on inanities, they don't have to deal with the hard issues.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  9. Johan S

    Many reasonable Christians know the Bible shouldn't be taken literally regarding the creation story. People will say you shouldn't take the part in the bible that says rapists should marry their victims literally .. Or the parts that are contradictory .. But God forbid (literally) you don't take the creation story literally.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  10. Hazel Moates

    Fundamentalists have no problem with dinosaurs. Man and dinosaurs co-existed, as explained in exhibits at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. (creationmuseum dot org)

    April 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  11. Nikki

    What about all those poor students who go catatonic when they hear the word TEST? Ban the tests and solve all the word ban problems at the same time. Yes, I'm being sarcastic.
    .
    Why are we looking for reasons to be offended/outraged by everything? There ARE bad things in the real world and not preparing children for them is a greater disservice than sticking their heads in the sand. You stick your head in the sand and sooner or later, you'll get your ___ bit.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Paul

      Well said !!!

      April 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  12. GeorgeBos95

    First word on the list should have been IDIOT.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  13. Gene

    Are you kidding me? This is how they waste money they claim they don't have? Once again NYCBOE shows its complete incompetence.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Nonimus

      What are you talking about?

      The tests will still be produced. They will still be "sensitive" to the student's background. The just may, or may not, include the words on the list. What waste are you talking about?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  14. abacus2

    When I first heard of this on NPR I thought it was an April Fool's joke. It is the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard. Why don't we just ban speech, thought, and the written word and be done with it!

    April 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      That sounds double-plus good!
      It is easier for shamans to keep the people in line when they're illiterate.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Joe

      Hello 1984.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Nonimus

      No one said anything about banning these words outright, it was just on this specific English and Math tests.

      The purpose was to reduce the likely hood that a student would do worse on the test because they got distracted by the words used, instead of taking the test.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  15. JustPlainJoe

    "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds", as our dear Mark Twain would note. In the quest for political correctness, sometimes the floor painter finds himself in a corner. Fortunately, this has reversed.

    All words bring with them their own context and prejudices. If we ban certain words then we close the conversation further and further, till the only words we have left, say absolutely nothing.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • karen

      Emerson said that, not Mark Twain.
      But a great quote.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Nilbogboh

      Careful, they just might try to ban the word "hobgoblin"...

      April 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • quote

      do you mean ralph waldo emerson?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  16. mb2010a

    I think NYC needs to vote out all of the current members of the school board and vote in people who actually have an education.
    Kids these days are a lot smarter than the school board thinks they are...

    April 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • thecastro

      But their parent's are not.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  17. Urmomtoo

    Ridiculous as Tigger would say!!!

    April 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Kearns

    How very sad. Being sensitive to others isn't a weakness, and avoiding a few dozen words wouldn't have impeded the children's ability to learn Math and English. Why are there are elements of American society that believe everything is a zero sum game? Society is much deeper and richer when we embrace our diversity and act kind toward our fellow citizens. E pluribus unum.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I suppose kindness is a realtive concept.

      The proposal was an act of cruelty.

      Anything that avoids the reality of the world that will greet them in adulthood is a disservice.

      In the real world, few care, and teaching them otherwise is why we have a generation of losers being created as we speak.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Mike

      This isn't being sensitive to others, it's nonsense. Saying dinosaur doesn't offend fundamentalists. Why would it? Are you saying it's better to change your beliefs because it might offend someone else? I know some witnesses, they could care less that I celebrate my birthday. Why would they? I'm not forcing it down their throat. Just like I could care less if someone brings up something about Islam, Hinduism ,or Buddhism. Just because I don't have their faith doesn't mean them talking about it offends me. Why would it?

      Denying something exists in the world is not what we should be teaching kids. It's better to talk about it and let them make up their own minds. Denial isn't good. People have different beliefs, we need to deal with it and not shy away from it.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • EGB2

      The diversity issue is a two-way street. People who seek to ban simple and well-established concepts like 'dinosaur' and 'Halloween' can use a little exposure to mainstream American culture, rather than allow their narrow views to dumb down the educational system even more. Stop catering to the fringes of society.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @William Demuth,
      "The proposal was an act of cruelty."
      How so?
      They weren't banning the words from the school or the children's education, just the standardized English and Math tests.
      I would be the first, or at least among the first, to protest any school banning any words outright, but this was an extremely limited and well reasoned case.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • MikeKNR

      You fail to realize that your silly 'diversity' argument is ignorant of the diversity of LANGUAGE! Kearns, only a woman would say something this squishy and diabetic-coma-inducing. Kids will gorw up unable to deal with adversity in your disgustingly bland world, if you had your way. Thankfully you didn't.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mike

      @Nonimus

      Well reasoned? Please explain how thinking the word "Halloween" is going to offend someone is "well reasoned"?

      April 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Maryam

      Embracing our diversity doesn't mean avoiding the use of the name of an animal or a holiday. If you cannot abide the name of an animal which is commonly agreed to have existed, no matter how you think it got here, then you are simply too emotionally and intellectually fragile to live in the real world, which will knock the corners off all of us. It's not about kindness, it's about cowardice and being afraid that someone's parents will see a word that's outside their belief system and sue. After all, you wouldn't want to inadvertently let a child know that the bubble in which they're being raised isn't the whole world.

      Hearing someone ask "Where is it at?" nearly makes me physically ill, particularly when it's used by self-confessed schoolteachers. However, I recognize that they have either not been taught properly or have not been held to account for using proper grammar, and soldier on.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Nonimus

      As a New Yorker, I am aware of the slippery slope.

      First you can't smoke in the Subway, and soon you can't smoke in your own home.

      NYC is a nanny state, and any attempt ro delegitimize ANYTHING has to be percieved as a first step towards an outright ban of it.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • MikeKNR

      Nonimus you fool, they didn't explain the reasoning AT ALL!....did you even read the friggin artical?...ARRGGHHH....the only reasons we got were conjecture on the part of the articles' author!

      April 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • sipsen

      Let's not forget that tax dollars were used to create this list. Also, if "dinosaur" and "birthday" can be banned, where does it stop? The term "diversity" could be just as offensive as "birthday."

      April 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Kearns: Wow. The brainwashing machine worked really well on you, didn't it?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Mike

      Can an illiterate person sue the school because reading offends them?

      April 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @William Demuth,
      You realize that "slippery slope" is the name of a logical fallacy, right?

      @Mike,
      "Please explain how thinking the word 'Halloween' is going to offend someone is 'well reasoned'?"
      If you are asking how the word Halloween is going to offend someone, then I wouldn't care to try, anyone can be offended by anything. That is not the reasoning to which I was referring.

      @MikeKNR,
      If, like @Mike, you are asking about the reasoning behind the choice of individual words, then I would say that I was not referring to the list of words specifically.

      @Both Mikes,
      I think that the concept of reducing distractions during a test in English and Math by limiting the use of "controversial" words used in the test is a well reasoned approach. The actual list of words is another matter entirely, but I assumed that the BOE chose their list based on some information about which words are found more or less "controversial" by the general population, however, I don't know that for a fact and will not debate whether a specific word is "distracting" or not because I don't think that is the point.

      I think the point is to provide the best method available for determining a students abilities in Math and English. To that end, no single word, I think, is absolutely necessary. If you can get better evaluations of students from a test without "controversial" words, then why not use that test. Further it seems "well reasoned" to me that reducing "controversial" words in the test itself would reasonably provide more accurate test results than including controversial words.

      For example, if you have a question on a test that says place the comma correctly in the following sentence:
      "The Klan members strung up the n!gger by his neck wearing their white outfits."

      Or:
      "The man beating his wife for going outside asked for a beer."

      Or:
      "Celebration of Christmas and Halloween are signs of ignorance in the face of scientific evidence of the evolution of species including dinosaurs and humans."

      and @MikeKNR,

      April 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Please ignore the dangling participant, "and @MikeKNR,"

      April 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  19. OOO

    The New York Post speculated that the "dinosaurs" could "call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists."

    Every living thing could (should) call to mind evolution!

    April 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • CNNuthin

      Ban "Dinosaur" and get praise from religious groups. Ban "Christmas" and you are declaring war on Christianity.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Greg

      What does the word dinosaur have to do with evolution?

      From what I can tell, CNN's Belief Blog is rampant with straw-man arguments. It's a bunch of closed-minded people that prescribe ill intent to those of the opposing view, declare others ignorant, and basically act as mean-spirited as they can and still get posted up on the thread.

      I've never so much hate.
      It's sad, really.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • TimeTraveler

      Greg,
      Why are you railing against CNN for this one? It was NYC who banned these words (including dinosaur) and then reinstated them. And they originally banned dinosaur from a concern that fundies would be offended due to their anti-evolution viewpoint.
      How did you contort this into CNN's straw-man argument?

      April 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Jay

      I have no problem with evolution being taught as a THEORY...they are having a lot of trouble reconciling huge blooms of biodiversity which evolution must have to occur. Nearly every crossover species has come into question as well. Besides if God and His angels created it all in 6000 years I'd be stupid to think I had all the answers to how the entire universe was created and then tell God what I think of it. Food for thought anyways. It's more important that we teach diversity and then we will have a truely American education.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Greg

      Time Traveler – here's why: in the original article, CNN referenced that he NY Post SURMISED that this was why dinosaur was put on the list. It then went on to describe that the dinosaur was the hero of some crazy fringe creationist group (that dinosaurs and people were on the earth at the same time as "dragons," etc.). So...the dinosaur would actually be a symbol supportive of creationism, so to speak.

      Regardless, anybody that reads "fundamentalist" have already started writing their posts about how "Christians complain about dinosaurs" or how "Prayer is the only answer" etc. My post was more about posters than the articles themselves.

      However, the articles are clearly designed to play the two sides off each other. It's more Belief Bash than Belief Blog.

      My two cents.

      April 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  20. GodsPeople

    thank God they backed off of that craziness. It was unreal, not to mention stupid as all getout.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mike

      Your use of god in that sentence offends me.

      April 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      And just think, at some point you'll put on your big girl panties and get over it, too!

      April 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Mike

      Panties!!! AHHHHHH, now I'm really offended!

      April 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • 1ofTheFallen

      MIKE – I'm offended by the thought of you wearing panties and saying AHHHHHH. The image has now tramatized me for life. I now have to ban my brain from thinking.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Mike

      What does traumatized mean? I'm offended by my own ignorance. Which is what this all boils down to. Ignorance. (yes I really do know what it means)

      April 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      I'm offended that you're offended by your own ignorance!

      April 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.