One would assume this refers to cussing or name-calling, but that’s not it: ordinary words such as "dance," "dinosaurs," "birthday," "Halloween," "divorce," and have been banned from standardized tests in New York City, lest they offend certain religious groups.
In the New York Post, Yoav Gonen quotes a Dept. of Education spokesman as saying, "This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and allows our students to complete practice exams without distraction," but other officials say such exclusions are normal procedure.
Gonen quotes educator Robert Pondiscio as saying, "The intent is to avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge, but the irony is they’re eliminating some subjects, like junk food, holidays and popular music, that the broadest number of kids are likely to know quite a lot about."
And of course, words pertaining to "creatures from outer space," are taboo.
He quotes university teachers college professor Deanna Kuhn as saying, "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."
Thank goodness UFOs are NOT a taboo topic at our Dreamland Festival, where you’ll learn the latest about what’s going on with the Visitors (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to these shows and they save 10% on Festival tickets too!). But hurry: We keep it small so we can say "hi" to everyone, but that means that seats are selling out fast!