"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

Search This Blog

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Life is Hard and Scary Sometimes. Sorry, Can't Teach this Fact or Talk About Scary/Unpleasant Moments in NYC Public Schools.

Life will be difficult for these NYC public school kids when real life disappoints hit them.  Life is scary and unfair sometimes but adults are attempting to shield them from any thing that would cause them discomfort or unpleasant emotions:

In a bizarre case of political correctness run wild, educrats have banned references to “dinosaurs,” “birthdays,” “Halloween” and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests.

That’s because they fear such topics “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.” 

Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism.

Even “dancing’’ is taboo, because some sects object. But the city did make an exception for ballet.

The forbidden topics were recently spelled out in a request for proposals provided to companies competing to revamp city English, math, science and social-studies tests given several times a year to measure student progress.

“Some of these topics may be perfectly acceptable in other contexts but do not belong in a city- or state-wide assessment,” the request reads.

Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. Poverty is likewise on the forbidden list.

Also banned are references to divorces and diseases, because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill.

What group of educators is supporting this change?  

“The intent is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge,” said Robert Pondiscio, a spokesman for the Core Knowledge Foundation, an education group. 

Here is information from the Core Knowledge Foundation website, a self described "education and advocacy group":

We believe that every person in a diverse democratic society deserves equal access to the common knowledge base that draws together its people, while recognizing our differing traditions and contributions.

Apparently the educators don't believe what words they deem too scary or what could hurt someone's feelings should be taught to students.  How can you recognize different traditions and contributions when such holidays as Halloween and birthdays are banned from classroom teaching or reference?

Read more from The New York Post here.  A professor at Columbia University questions the wisdom of shielding students from issues that these educators believe are upsetting to students:

Columbia University Teachers College professor Deanna Kuhn said, “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.”

Why don't we just feed kids Valium all their lives so they won't recognize life has hurdles, stumbles, people with differing opinions, and sometimes life doesn't work out like you had planned?  This ban reminds me of the UK banning "best friends" in school. The breakup of a close friend relationship can cause too much pain and angst so children must be spared these emotions. 

Are we setting children up to become Stepford Wives?  When did data set assessments replace teaching children skills to navigate through life's emotional waters?  Why should a company like Core Knowledge Foundation be setting assessments on what students should/shouldn't learn because it is too scary or some other arbitrary reason?  How can children become emotionally healthy if they never learn or talk about normal emotional experiences, occurrences and traditions?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it clean and constructive. We reserve the right to delete comments that are profane, off topic, or spam.

Site Meter