Students in New York City’s public schools cramming for tests can delete words like birthdays, junk food, Halloween, dinosaur and even dancing from study lists.
References to such words have been banned from city-issued tests in an edict issued by the city’s Department of Education for fear the words could “appear biased” or “evoke unpleasant emotions” in students.
The department included the list of 50 banned topics in a recently issued request for proposals to companies interested in creating new versions of tests given to New York City students throughout the year to measure progress in English, math, science and social studies.
“Some of these topics may be perfectly acceptable in other contexts but do not belong in a city- or state-wide assessment,” reads the request, first obtained and reported on by the New York Post. Dinosaurs, the Post reports, were banned because they reference evolution, which fundamentalist students might not agree with. Birthdays are not celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses and Halloween suggests paganism, so they are not allowed, and so is dancing because some sects object, according to the paper.