This story is so bizarre that I had to check it twice to make sure it was not an early April Fool’s joke. The New York City Department of Education has barred the use of “Dinosaur” on tests to avoid upsetting people who believe creationism. Putting aside the fact that creationists do not deny that dinosaurs existed, the decision is to bar the use of a reference to an entire species because a fact might insult religious sensibilities.
Educations in New York decided that, with such things as Halloween and dancing, the reference to dinosaurs “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.” Also banned is the word “evolution.” It is basically designing a test for Sarah Palin to pass.
“Birthday” is also out because Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays.
The problem with this type of self-censorship is that runs against a core value of public education. I have been a long advocate of public educations and we have kept our kids in the public schools. Public schools are a core foundation for civil society — training future citizens in a shared and pluralistic environment. A child must learn not to be “distracted” by references to evolution because it is an accepted scientific fact in the world. It is part of the learning process and is itself a measurement of educational development. The same can be said for the realities of dancing and birthdays. Political correctness is being allowed to trump intellectual content.
Here are the other words on the list:
Here is the complete list of words that could be banned:
Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Death and disease
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Homes with swimming pools
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
Source: Daily Mail