Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meet NYC's 'Word Police'

I'll get right to the point -- the New York City Department of Education has published a list of more than 50 words and topics to be avoided on standardized tests. Why?

Because they "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students."

(Oh, c'mon now -- seriously?)

"The intent," say school officials, "is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge."

(Whatever the hell that means. I guess even the Word Police can't explain the inexplicable in plain English.)

"We're not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests."

(Sure it is -- hey, aren't you the same city that just banned donated food from homeless shelters? Thought so.)

You can't make this shit up. Here's the list, compiled from the New York Post and CBS New York. Read it and weep -- for our children.
  • Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
  • Alcohol (beer & liquor), tobacco, or drugs
  • Birthday celebrations (& birthdays)
  • Bodily functions
  • Cancer (& other diseases)
  • Catastrophes & disasters (tsunamis & hurricanes)
  • Celebrities
  • Children dealing with serious issues
  • Cigarettes (& other smoking paraphernalia)
  • Computers in the home (ok if in a school or library setting)
  • Crime
  • Dancing
  • Death & disease
  • Dinosaurs
  • Divorce
  • Evolution
  • Expensive gifts, vacations, & prizes
  • Gambling involving money
  • Halloween
  • Homelessness
  • Homes with swimming pools
  • Hunting
  • Junk food
  • In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
  • Loss of employment
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
  • Parapsychology
  • Politics
  • Pornography
  • Poverty
  • Rap music
  • Religion
  • Religious holidays & festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, & Ramadan)
  • Rock-&-roll music
  • Running away
  • Sex
  • Slavery
  • Terrorism
  • Television & video games (excessive use)
  • Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
  • Vermin (rats & roaches)
  • Violence
  • War & bloodshed
  • Wealth
  • Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
  • Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
(Quick question -- does a kid who fails one of New York City Schools' sanitized, word-policed tests get a participant ribbon anyway?)