Thanks to the brain trust at the NYC Department of Education, the city’s children will no longer be subjected to the horror of having to see the word “divorce” on any standardized test, where it might stir up, and I quote, “unpleasant emotions.”
And god forbid any of our children EVER experience any kind of unpleasantness. Why, that might lead to… discomfort. Or even mild perturbation! OMG! *gurgle*
But “divorce” wasn’t the only “loaded word” offender that needed banning in the NYC DOE’s view. Ooooh no. Potential unpleasant-feeling-inducing words such as “dinosaurs,” “birthdays,” Halloween,” and “pepperoni,” also got the axe. YES, PEPPERONI. Because that… totally makes sense, right? PEOPLE, I LIVE IN MORTAL FEAR OF THE PEPPERONI. IT IS A SCOURGE AND MUST BE STOPPED BEFORE IT GETS TO OUR CHILDREN. Now, may I mambo dogface to the banana patch? [pounds keyboard]
The Department of Education’s says that avoiding sensitive words on tests is nothing new, and that New York City is not the only locale to do so. California avoids the use of the word “weed” on tests and Florida avoids the phrases that use “Hurricane” or “Wildfires,” according to a statement by the New York City Department of Education.
In its request for proposal, the NYC Department of Education explained it wanted to avoid certain words if the “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 this is the fifth year they have created such a list. He said such topics “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”
Listen, is this really necessary? Are our children really so fragile and so incapable of parsing the world around them in a competent fashion that THIS is what we’ve come to? Have we actually reached a point where our kids sense of reality is so weak and unstable, and their minds so permeable, that a single word could do real damage? Aren’t both parents and educators alike doing children a disservice by coddling our kids to such an extent that anything that might make them feel slightly uncomfortable, or (gasp!) make them actually think about or question things, gets summarily excised and banned?
I’m asking. Should “divorce” have been banned, in your view? Does this make sense to you?
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