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NYC Bans Mention of Dinosaurs, Dancing, Birthdays On Student Tests 470

New submitter SchroedingersCat writes "New York educators banned references to 'dinosaurs,' 'birthdays,' 'Halloween' and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests. That is because they fear such topics 'could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.' Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays are not celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism. Homes with swimming pools and home computers are also unmentionables — because of economic sensitivities. The city asks test companies to exclude 'creatures from outer space' as well — for unspecified reasons."
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NYC Bans Mention of Dinosaurs, Dancing, Birthdays On Student Tests

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  • Test limitations (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danielpauldavis ( 1142767 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @07:22PM (#39502735)
    Does anyone realize that some test-takers don't know what a "pillow" is? So yeah, the poor kid will stare at some word, wondering what it is, get a worse than accurate score, because the test is testing something that WASN'T TAUGHT IN CLASS. That's what this little rule is trying to avoid. Fair testing for all. 'Bout time.
  • by davids-world.com ( 551216 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @08:17PM (#39503289) Homepage
    This is tyranny of a set of minorities, who all expect to have their irrational beliefs respected and tolerated. Is this another instance of what the ecologist Hardin called the Tragedy of the Commons? By making use of simple, seemingly reasonable demands, a large number of individuals exploits a shared resource (culture, education) up to the point where the total of the actions disables the system. Religious and political freedom may now destroy the education system and with it the environment that makes these freedoms viable in the first place.
  • by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @08:17PM (#39503291)

    My PolSci prof went on a rant today (after explicitly singling out the Education students) about how teachers are actually glorified HR managers trained to "identify problems and then direct them towards a specialist" in order to conform and "normalize" children, and that any "learning" that happens along the way is purely accidental. Then he accused the entire class of being illiterate (having seen several of our written-in-class short essay/exams) but clarified it by stating that no one needs to learn learn to spell anyways; we just need to learn to use a computer (eg: spell check).

    It was part of a larger rant on historicism, positivism, and the soulless guts of a technological society.

    He's a pretty entertaining prof.
    His exams do suck though.

  • by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @08:26PM (#39503397) Journal

    The new secret is to propose stuff so preposterous that it numbs the sanity checkers into a coma and then gets passed. I mean, don't "promote religious tolerance", ban everybuddy's favorite prehistoric animal, Dinosaurs, because ... wait for it... a TurboFundy Christian might be upset.

  • by darthnoodles ( 831210 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @09:43PM (#39504017)
    I was a Jehovah's Witness for the first 30-odd years of my life, and neither me nor the many hundreds of other Jehovah's Witnesses that I knew would have ever been offended by the mention of birthdays in a test. Why are they being over-sensitive in retarded ways?
  • Re:April fools (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Benaiah ( 851593 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @10:54PM (#39504551)

    Its funny that on the front page of /. we have an article belittling Europe's treatment of free speech and we have this article that says NY'ers can't even talk about dinosaurs because you might upset someone?

  • Re:April fools (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MadFan ( 2576513 ) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @05:54AM (#39506757)

    But I am serious! Gay butt sex between loving men is fine for Gentiles [== not(Jews)] post-Jesus. For while it is written in the Law of Moses that

    If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. - Leviticus 20:13

    it is also written in the New Testament that

    ...some...said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses."

    [The council concluded] we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God [by requiring them to follow the whole Law of Moses]. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood." - Acts 15:5, 19-20

    Now sexual immorality is a rather vague phrase which I take to mean rape and generally non-consensual sex. You might be a little confused by the scattered references to homosexuality in Paul's letters which seem to imply that homosexuality is sexually immoral. However,

    Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders ... will inherit the kingdom of God. - 1 Corinthians 6:9

    discusses homosexual offenders, that is, people who break the law. Since sodomy is not illegal in my country, we're fine there. Next,

    What a cop out. The above quote in Leviticus 20:13, sets the law from God. Arguing that it isn't against the law of USA doesn't mean anything to the "kingdom of God". You could argue that in some African country it is legal to rape and kill, and hence "we're fine there", Next.

    For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, ..., or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God. - 1 Timothy 1:9-11

    Here one must practice homosexuality for it to be a sin. The people I was imagining weren't actively practicing their technique; they simply did what came naturally. Some translations don't even list sodomy/homosexuality here, so the interpretation is also debatable. Finally we have,

    Here one must practice killing their father for it to be a sin. If you only do it once then it isn't a sin because you only killed your father once. About "what came naturally": The argument here is that homosexuality isn't normal. The argument goes along the lines of a male is designed for a female. and the union there of is a symbol of the relationship of God to Jews and Jesus to Gentiles. Because some closed closet homos decided to rewrite verse to make homos not listed there, doesn't subtract to what was written.

    ...God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. - Romans 1:26-27

    This one is trickier to interpret correctly. What is an "indecent act" or a "natural relation"? For gay men, an indecent or unnatural act would be sex with a woman.

    I call BS on that. There isn't Male, Female, Gay, Les, there are only Male & Female. For a gay man it's still an unnatural act even if he prefers & love doing it.

    The men u

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