New York City schools take Orwellian concept to its ‘logical’ conclusion

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

        — George Orwell, “1984”

Same concept. Different objective.

In a request for proposals to provide the New York City Department of Education standardized tests in English, math science and social-studies, the agency listed 50 words or topics that may not be used lest the words “evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”

This Gary Larson cartoon would be banned in New York City public schools.

A world without thoughtcrime or a world without unpleasant emotions uses the same technique: Eliminate words and you eliminate the very thing.

The New York Post called it “a bizarre case of political correctness run wild.”

The list includes the word “birthday” because some religions don’t celebrate birthdays. Of course, the word “religion” or any reference to religion is banned. So are references to disease, divorce, terrorism, slavery, smoking, illegal drugs, hunting, war, violence, politics, homelessness and joblessness.

It also bans mentioning wealth or poverty. If there is no word for poverty, there is no poverty.

On the other hand, no word for politics does have a certain appeal in this election year.

The word dinosaur is forbidden because that raises the issue of evolution.

The Post quoted one educrat as saying, “The intent is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge.”

You’d not expect the ghetto dweller to know the difference between port and starboard, since they’ve never been on a yacht.

The good news is, at least for the moment, the practice reading proficiency test Nevada gives to high school students to qualify for a diploma is full of non-politically correct questions.

One paragraph in one reading passage, punches several emotional hot buttons, “‘Wanted: Daring young men, preferably orphans,’ read the newspaper advertisement. Fifteen-year-old William F. Cody applied for the job. He knew that this would be no ordinary way to earn an honest wage. It would be filled with danger, excitement, little rest, and most likely a fair number of saddle sores. Yet it offered Cody and more than 200 others a rare opportunity to earn a lot of money in a very short time.”

Other readings refer to cancer and death and loneliness.

Another passage claimed that “breathing air in the Los Angeles Basin is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.”

Here, according to the Post, is the full list of topics that if included on city exams would “probably cause a selection to be deemed unacceptable by the New York City Department of Education”:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)

Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs

Birthdays

Bodily functions

Cancer (and other diseases)

Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)

Celebrities

Children dealing with serious issues

Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)

Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or public library setting)

Crime

Creatures from outer space

Dancing (ballet is acceptable)

Death and disease

Dinosaurs and prehistoric times

Divorce

Evolution

Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes

Gambling involving money

Geological history

Halloween

Homelessness

Holidays

Homes with swimming pools

Hunting

In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge

Junk food

Loss of employment

Movies

Nuclear weapons

Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)

Parapsychology

Politics

Pornography

Poverty

Rap music

Religion

Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)

Rock-and-Roll music

Running away

Sex

Slavery

Terrorism

Television and video games (excessive use)

Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)

Vermin (rats and roaches)

Violence

War and bloodshed

Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)

Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

(Source: NYC Department of Education Request for Proposals)

21 comments on “New York City schools take Orwellian concept to its ‘logical’ conclusion

  1. Bill says:

    Ummmm. There are those who will say I am seldom at a loss for words. But try as I might I am unable to utter a single word about this pc foolishness..

  2. Come on, Bill, surely you can think of 50.

    ________________________________

  3. Steve says:

    George Carlin started with 7 words by the time he died his list had over 2000 words you would not get past the censors.

    Progressives indeed.

  4. Athos says:

    Ruling class, Steve. They know better than us. “Ordained by God”? Not like Kings of old, cause they don’t believe in “no stinking god”, do they?

    Why can’t they worship Jefferson, Madison and Washington? Or maybe even Adam Smith or deTocqueville?

  5. Steve says:

    Not worship, honor and respect.

  6. nyp10025 says:

    This admittedly dumb document was withdrawn by the NY BOE more than a month ago.

  7. Athos says:

    Another leftist lie by petey. Post the date YOU THINK the NY Department of Education dropped the list petey.

    I found this: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nyc-schools-drops-list-test-topics-avoid-16059085#.T4qXcY5EJS8

    And in case your handlers haven’t told you, today is April 15.

    Poser!

  8. nyp10025 says:

    AP, MARCH 26:
    “A spokeswoman for the department said the list is of topics that are suggested to be avoided, not outright banned, and it’s standard language that’s been included in proposal requests for some time.

    “There is no ban on any topic in our tests or curriculum,” spokeswoman Deidrea Miller said in a statement. “This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and is meant to ensure that tests contain no possible bias or distractions for students.”

    New York University education professor Diane Ravitch said it’s not confined to the nation’s largest city.

    “This is something that testing companies have been doing for a long time,” she said.

    Ravitch said the list of subjects to avoid comes from topics someone somewhere around the country, not necessarily in New York, may have objected to. She said, “Nobody in New York City is likely to object to any of these things.”

  9. nyp10025 says:

    NY TIMES, April 2:
    “New York City Department of Education officials said late Monday that they were pulling back on a clause in contracts for testing companies that list 50 words and topics that they should avoid in creating new tests.

    In an e-mailed statement, Shael Polakow-Suransky, the city’s chief academic officer, said:

    “After reconsidering our message to test publishers and the reaction from parents, we will revise our guidance and eliminate the list of words to avoid on tests. We will continue to advise companies to be sensitive to student backgrounds and avoid unnecessary distractions that could invalidate test scores and give an inaccurate assessment of how students are doing. New York City schools teach the broadest, richest curriculum in the nation and we can’t let this distract from the important work going on our classrooms.”

  10. Thanks for the update.

  11. Rincon says:

    If this is how they think, what do you think they are teaching the kids?

  12. Steve says:

    nyp, it is sad they even tried. On that we do agree.

  13. nyp10025 says:

    We all agree it was quite stupid.

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