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NYC Tests: Dinosaurs, Aliens, Birthdays Banned

Child Taking Test

New York City school officials have decided to ban 50 topics from standardized tests, including dinosaurs, aliens and birthdays. Why? Well, because apparently even birthdays are controversial, and could make kids upset. Apparently, for example, dinosaurs could remind them of evolution, and the topic of birthdays is banned because Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate them.

The banned topics were recently listed in a request for proposals to completely revamp the city’s English, math, science and social-studies tests the schools use for annual assessment.

In the request for proposals, school officials explained that the banned topics, “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.” This list is the longest by any state, and some people have called it outrageous, and a form of censorship.

A Department of Education spokeswomen, insisting that the list is not censorship, stated that, “This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and allows our students to complete practice exams without distraction.”

Robert Pondiscio, a spokesman for the Core Knowledge Foundation, an education group, stated that:

” The intent is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge…but the irony is they’re eliminating some subjects, like junk food, holidays and popular music, that the broadest number of kids are likely to know quite a lot about.”

Deanna Kuhn, a professor with the Columbia University Teachers College disagrees with the ban, saying:

“If the goal is to assess higher-order thinking skills, controversial topics, for example, ones that are the subject of political debate, are exactly what students should be reasoning about.”

Also included on the list are topics like dancing (except ballet), celebrities, animals or inanimate objects with human characteristics, and references to excessive TV-watching or video-came-playing.

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23 Responses to “NYC Tests: Dinosaurs, Aliens, Birthdays Banned”

  1. Daro Weilburg

    The JW's are Bible based…Only two birthday celebrations are mentioned in the Bible…Gen. 40:20-23 Where the Baker in Joseph's time was beheaded on Pharaoh's birthday. And, where John the Baptist was beheaded on Herod's Birthday during Jesus' life here on earth. Matthew 14:6-11. Doesn't it seem rather odd that out of over 1500 years of Bible history and the only time a birthday celebration was mentioned was for 2 pagan Kings and someone lost their head? In fact, the Bible itself cautions about celebrating birthdays…Ec. 7:1 Where it clearly says the birth is not to be celebrated, but the death and accomplishments are to be memorialized at the house of morning. Why is there no mention of any of the Apostles celebrating their birthdays? In fact, why is there not even one prophet of the Bible who mentions his birthday? The pagans were celebrating them throughout the times, but, not the servents of God. Interesting huh?

  2. Danny 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

  3. Giovanni Seoane

    This is the most stupidest thing I ever heard. These guys just like ruining people's lifestyles and imposing their views.

  4. Daro Weilburg

    Christopher Mitchell IF you think going to the bathroom is a sin, perhaps you might consider a a trip to the hospital to have a check up.

  5. Nate Peterson


  6. Daro Weilburg

    Deborah Middendorf Going to the bathroom and celebrating one's birthday is the difference between freedom of choice and a natural occurance. The celebrating of birthdays is commercialistic. It exploits children and idiots…which are you?

  7. Nate Peterson


  8. Daro Weilburg

    Nate Peterson The Bible has NEVER been disproved. It is the oldest and most comprehensive book ever written. It is the widest circulated book in the history of mankind. Want someomer facts? The Bible says the world is round…about 1500 years before Columbus. Interesting Huh!

  9. Deborah Middendorf

    Other things the Bible says is wrong that people do: Eat shellfish ("But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you." ), Divorce ("And He said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.'"), Eating pig products ("And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you."), Gossiping ("Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD."), Working on Sabbath ("Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death."), Women talking in church ("Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.").

  10. Deborah Middendorf

    And, by the way, I do believe in God and the Bible. I'm just sick of people only using the part of the Bible they want and defending that part to all costs in such a way that they put down other people, but ignore the other parts. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!" "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." So, don't judge others if they want to celebrate birthdays and holidays because you aren't any better. There are no measures of sin. Murder is as bad as being disrespectful to your parents. And a thought is the same as an action in the eyes of God…

  11. Deborah Middendorf

    "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:16-19

  12. José Luis Qwistgaard Espinal

    Come on, that just isn't right. It is extremely silly… Eventually they will have to ban saying the word Jesus because Muslims get offended by you not saying Allah, or saying "third world country" because all those guys such as myself that come from one will get all boo-hoo…

  13. Greg Mills

    I really, really, wish I could honestly say this was the stupidest thing I had ever heard. I wish I could say it was in the top 50. But no, Our educational system feels the need to top things like this on a regular basis.

  14. David A. Lee

    @Deborah Middenorf- Actually, Saul went into a cave "To relieve himself".

  15. Peter Williamson

    hahaha xD

    evolution is not a fucking "theory" or belief,

    this is like banning "electronics" from tests because me and a bunch of backward neighbours decide we don't believe in electrons and charge!

    only in america, people, only in america.

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