New York city schools want to ban 'loaded words' from tests
March 29th, 2012
10:47 AM ET

New York city schools want to ban 'loaded words' from tests

By Brian Vitagliano, CNN

New York (CNN) – Divorce. Dinosaurs, Birthdays. Religion. Halloween. Christmas. Television. These are a few of the 50-plus words and references the New York City Department of Education is hoping to ban from the city’s standardized tests.

The banned word list was made public – and attracted considerable criticism – when the city’s education department recently released this year’s "request for proposal" The request for proposal is sent to test publishers around the country trying to get the job of revamping math and English tests for the City of New York.

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."

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Filed under: Curriculum • Policy • Testing
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Hanmer Springs Bed and Breakfast

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    April 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  2. Rich

    Well Karrie should we just elminate everyhting that will cause a distraction then? I know when I was in school I wasnt distracted by the word dinosaur or wildfire, but perhaps the cute redhead sitting next to me or my Nintendo 64 I had at home that I wanted to play. LIFE is full of distractions, to say words like these hinder a child's test taking ability is ridiculous. Don't make an excuse for this absurdity.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  3. music lessons

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    April 2, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  4. Bill Dussault

    Good Point Karrie> I Never thought of it this way.

    April 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  5. Bill Dussault

    Good Point Karrie I never thought of it this way.

    April 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  6. Karrie

    This ban exists due to the culture of testing we have embraced so heartily in this country. Politics has put extreme pressure on schools to achieve higher and higher standardized test scores. New York wants to avoid any language on the test that might cause students to become unnecessarily distracted during the exam and, therefore, have lower test score. They are not "anti-language" they are "pro-high-scores" as the public has demanded them to be.

    March 31, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • knotfloyd

      This ban does NOT in fact already exist. Read the article before you post.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  7. AnnDTeaches

    Let's just go ahead and ban "learning".

    March 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  8. Get me off this planet

    I understand not mentioning hurricanes in say New Orleans, but the last time I checked NY hasnt been attacked by dinosaurs lately. If it ever is, that's something that I want on every standardized test.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  9. jblue

    I FEEL LIKE SOME ONE KILLED MY SON . IF THE SHOE WAS ON THE OTHER FOOT AM SURE THE BLACK MAN WOULD BE IN JAIL WITH OUT A BOND . BLACKS ARE STILL AT THE BUTTOM . WHEN WE ARE HURT THERS NO JUSTICE FOR OUR SONS.. THERE MUST BE A CLASS BEENING TAUGHT ON HOW TO KILL A BLACK MAN AND HOW TO GET AWAY WITH IT.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Jim Nichols

      All people arrested/booked have the right to bail/bond/release on personal recoznizance, unless shown to be a flight risk.

      Yes, any child's death is a tragedy! Want I want to know is; Why isn't black communities across America up in arms about the black on black crime & murder rates that happen on a daily basis ,that far, far out number these touted "racist crimes". Is it that Jessie and Sharpton, who love the publicity so,would not receive as much face /camera time for those.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  10. mal

    They should ban verbs.

    No action words please.

    Seriously – they should name these people behind these recommendations and decisions. It's only their anonymity that prevents their embarrassment.

    March 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  11. the truther

    Well they have to dumb down words for blacks and latinos. Multiculturalism at its best

    March 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • NonAmerican

      Actually they're dumbing it down for religion.
      Luckily they're not dumbing it down for dummies otherwise I suspect all Americans would be taken out :)

      March 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • MikeInMaine

      Pathetic

      March 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  12. Thoughts by Jamie

    Reblogged this on Thoughts by Jamie and commented:
    [comments have been banned by the NY Dept. of Education on the account of the author being deemed a smart - ass]

    March 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  13. Thomas K

    The word "the" offends me. "Is" is also particularly offensive. As a matter of fact, "them" is also offensive, especially when used as the subject of a sentence. Let's ban all three.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  14. Serg

    Because we all know that "dinosaurs" have the same impact in our society as television, hurricanes, religion and weed.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm |