Banned From NYC Tests: Dinosaurs, Aliens, Birthdays

Officials ban 50 subjects from city-wide assessment tests

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 26, 2012 1:49 PM CDT

(Newser) – New York City test-makers are going to have a hard time coming up with acceptable questions to place on students' tests, after officials decided to ban 50 subjects including dinosaurs and birthdays. Why? Because those topics have been deemed potentially controversial, and could make kids upset: Dinosaurs, for example, could remind them of evolution; birthdays got banned because Jehovah’s Witnesses don't celebrate them.

The banned topics "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students," the officials explained in a request for proposals—the city is looking for a company to revamp some of the annual city-wide assessment tests. Also among the 50 banned subjects, per the New York Post, which notes that while other states do have "sensitivity guidelines," none come close to being this long.

  • Dancing, except ballet, because some groups object to it
  • Words suggesting poverty or wealth, including homes that have pools or computers (but a question about a computer in a school is legit)
  • References to divorce or disease, because some children may have relatives dealing with those things
  • "Creatures from outer space"
  • Celebrities
  • References to excessive TV-watching or video-game-playing
  • Animals or inanimate objects with human characteristics

New York City students will not have to answer any questions about dinosaurs on citywide assessment tests.
New York City students will not have to answer any questions about dinosaurs on citywide assessment tests.   (Shutterstock)
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