War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests

'Dinosaur,' 'Birthday,' 'Halloween,' 'Poverty,' 'Divorce' Among Those Suggested

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — George Carlin is rolling over in his grave.

The New York City Department of Education is waging a war on words of sorts, and is seeking to have words they deem upsetting removed from standardized tests.

Marla Diamond Talks To Walcott, Student About Banned Words

Fearing that certain words and topics can make students feel unpleasant, officials are requesting 50 or so words be removed from city-issued tests.

The word “dinosaur” made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported. “Halloween” is targeted because it suggests paganism; a “birthday” might not be happy to all because it isn’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Julie Lewis’ family celebrates Christmas and Kwanzaa, but she told CBS 2’s Emily Smith she wants her children to appreciate and learn about other holidays and celebrations.

“They’re going to meet people from all walks of life and they’re going to have to learn to adjust,” Lewis said.

Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. “Poverty” is also on the forbidden list. That’s something Sy Fliegal with the Center for Educational Innovation calls ridiculous.

“The Petersons take a vacation for five days in their Mercedes … so what? You think our kids are going to be offended because they don’t have a Mercedes? You think our kids are going to say ‘I’m offended; how could they ask me a question about a Mercedes? I don’t have a Mercedes!'” Fliegal said.

In a throwback to “Footloose,” the word “dancing” is also taboo. However, there is good news for kids that like “ballet”: The city made an exception for this form of dance.

Also banned are references to “divorce” and “disease,” because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill.

Some students think banning these words from periodic assessment tests is ridiculous.

“If you don’t celebrate one thing you might have a friend that does it. So I don’t see why people would find it offensive,” Curtis High School Sophomore Jamella Lewis told Diamond.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the DOE is simply giving guidance to the test developers.

“So we’re not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests,” Walcott said Monday.

To which Fliegal responded: “It’s all of life! I don’t know how they figure out what not to put on the list. Every aspect of life is on the list.”

There are banned words currently in school districts nationwide. Walcott said New York City’s list is longer because its student body is so diverse.

Here is the complete list of words that could be banned:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)

Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs

Birthday celebrations (and 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 library setting)

Crime

Death and disease

Divorce

Evolution

Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes

Gambling involving money

Halloween

Homelessness

Homes with swimming pools

Hunting

Junk food

In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge

Loss of employment

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.

What do you think about the banned words list? Let us know below

Comments

One Comment

  1. LaurieLou says:

    No wonder my college freshmen are so ignorant. The School System ™ is too obsessed with this kind of crap instead of, you know, actually **TEACHING** them anything useful — like how to study, or how to synthesize information!

    1. devin says:

      Mark Twain said that “Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.” I think you’re right and college freshmen start their education by leaving the NYC system.

      1. Kaye says:

        INDEED!!

        1. Insatiable says:

          Please note that Dennis Wolcott had never even drawn so much as one paycheck from a school district until Bloomberg appointed him Chancellor. Just like all of his appointments. Real educators are outraged by this joke. Wonder why NY parents despise Bloomberg?

          1. PHYLLIS LEVY says:

            AS FOR OUR CHANCELLOR YOU ARE 100%CORRECT ALL YOU EVER HEAR IS CHANGE WITH TH DOE WELL THE FIRST THING THAT HAS TO BE CHANGED IS HAVING OUR MAYOR HAVING NO CONTROL OVER THE SCHOOLS ALL MR. WALCOTT IS IN CHARGE OF IS BEING IN MR. BLOOMBERGS POCKET I WONDER WHY THE PARENTS ARENT SCREAMING FROM THE ROOF TOPS AS TO WHAT OUR MAYOR HAS DONE TO OUR CITY SCHOOLS IF YOU STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT WITH ALL THE PARENTS DO TO FIGHT AND GO TO THE PANELS AND ARE NOT EVEN LISTENED TO IS BECAUSE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ON THESE PANELS ARE ALSO IN OUR MAYORS POCKET

            1. John says:

              Phyllis for PRESIDENT! ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

            2. Jay Wendell says:

              I AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY AND EMPHATICALLY!

          2. PHYLLIS LEVY says:

            YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT INSATIABLE BUT THE PARENTS DO NOT DESPISE OUR MAYOR ENOUGH THEY SHOULD BE SCREAMING FROM THE ROOF TOPS AND WHY DOES IT SURPRISE EVERYONE WHEN MR. WALCOTT IS CHANCELLOR IN NAME ONLY ALL WE HERE IS CHANGE WELL THE FIRST THING THAT HAS TO BE CHANGED IS GETTING OUR HAVING NO CONTROL OF THE SCHOOLS AND THE PARENTS HAVE NO CONTROL ANYTIME THEY GO TO THESE PANELS FOR NOT HAVING CHARTER SCHOOLS WHAT HAPPENS THEY LOOSE WHO DO YOU THINK THESE PEOPLE ON THESE PANELS ARE NOTHING BUT IN OUR MAYORS POCKET

            1. Rebecca says:

              You do know that writing in all caps just makes this incredibly difficult to read right?

              1. Sergio says:

                agree hahaha

            2. Sherry says:

              And throw some punctuation in there as well.

              1. Harry says:

                I’m glad someone said that. And just because this stuff isn’t on the tests doesn’t mean people aren’t going to be exposed to it. It’s just illogical to sensor everything when 20 minutes after the test they’re going to be exposed to it in the real world. This kind of mentality is creating a culture where people believe that if they’re offended by something they have a god given right to change it (oh damn I said god (oh damn i said damn)). Kids learn about free speech but adults seem to forget that being offended is a risk involved in free speech. I say put the drugs alcohol and gambling in the tests. Throw in the birthdays, the music, the dance, and the nuclear war. If someone gets offended, well they can just blog about it🙂.

                1. Mary Jane says:

                  Um, it’s God, with a capital G, dammit! Just threw that in there because I can see that some people are more concerned about grammar than content. I DON’T FIND IT ANY HARDER TO READ THIS than this. All that aside, Harry you are right. Our kids need to learn about the world we live in today and all of these words are a very real part of it. If you’re not teaching and talking about these things in school, your kids will be slow to develop socially. Stop holding their hands like their babies. For God’s sake, “dinosaur?” Seriously? Ridiculous!

              2. Shane Hillburg says:

                Another public school degenerate that passes as a real person.

                “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality” ~ H. L. Mencken

                http://911essentials.com

              3. Tsk says:

                And maybe a bit of grammar, so the sentences make sense.

      2. Lisa says:

        Wow.. this is ludicrous. Real life is what they want to ban. Why don’t they just get some cellophane and wrap the tests up and the kids separate.. oh wait, better yet, let’s not do tests because that might discriminate too.. oh oh, maybe we should make a longer list..no no no.. we shouldn’t even comment because this might offend the ‘banners’.. oh my .. I know.. we can create new face masks for all kids attending public schools and mandatory public masks. Let me see, design them with blinders, cotton balls, noise cancelling headphones, and electric current to zap out any acquired unsafe thoughts. This is the same thing as the ridiculous overuse of hand sanitation liquids. Yes, our children need to be protected from certain amounts of educational material at certain ages. But to deprive them from reality, that will not only make them cushioned individuals, but weak, impressionable, and gullible. Much easier to subdue and ‘convert’ to whatever political doctrines put before them…wait, where have we seen this before? oh yes, in Europe, HiHo!

        1. Robin says:

          I’m with you! I had to pinch myself because I keep having this dream and in it the Nazis are coming-Here. I am sorry to send you this semianonymous communication, but you might be interested to know that there is a company – Ariane Space- the name gave me pause. They put satellites into space through advanced rocket technologies. http://www.arianespace.com

        2. Elena says:

          I offer condoms instead of cellophane, or is the word “condom” not correct and may hurt someone’s feelings?

          1. Carla says:

            Of course it will! Condoms are a form of birth control, which some folks don’t believe in.

        3. MsBeaHaven says:

          Well said!!! This is a scary world we are living in – too sanitized.

        4. Mary Jane says:

          I’m with you Lisa! Very well said!

      3. Breenzanemom says:

        AMEN! In a few years, no one will be allowed to speak or write anything for fear of “hurting someone’s feelings”. Political correctness just keeps on reaching it’s nasty tentacles into every aspect of our lives……

        1. jack says:

          Tentacles is a banned word. Too much like testicles which must be banned

          1. TOYLUH says:

            Tentacles is a banned word? That’s absurd. People, these are just words. You give them power when you cower to them. Living your life in fear of words is redundant. Describe your life how you want to.

      4. Shane Hillburg says:

        “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality” ~ H. L. Mencken

        —— http://911essentials.com

    2. chris says:

      You are so right. These people who made this decision and call themselves Educators, well………to me they are just as DUMB as this decision that they have made. The next thing they are going to have to do is do away with the college entrance exams because they are going to be to dumb to pass it.

      1. James says:

        Unfortunately they unjustly call themselves educators. Between all of these people they might have 5 years teaching experience

    3. Louise Bell says:

      I wholeheartedly agree that this law is ridiculous, but not for most of the comments I’ve seen so far.
      Most seem to be about removing these words from curriculum. This article is addressing only standardized TESTS. I still see 2 major problems with it:
      1. How do you test what the students have learned if the subject can’t be mentioned in a test? For instance, poverty is a fact of life; our children not only need to learn about it and its impact on peoples lives, to help develop empathy, but need to be tested on that learning experience.
      2. Any form of censorship, once applied, is much easier to expand, even an inch at a time, to a broader application. We shouldn’t open the door to that!

      1. Kaye says:

        SPOT ON!

      2. DH says:

        Unfortunately we opened that door a long long time ago and let the “PC Police” get started and they have never stopped. They “the so called educators” have been in the process of re-writing history and making it so our kids in the US are some of the most illiterate in the world. My son was in High School and taking a World History class and they were studying WWII. I asked him who Hitler was and what he tried to do, he said that he was the leader of Germany and that was it. I asked him if they taught him about the genocide and mass killing of the jewish people and he said “no, we never talked about that at all and it wasnt mentioned in his textbook either.

        We continue to let them change history and tell us what we can say or are allowed to learn and how we learn it and we reap what we sow for allowing them to get away with it.

        1. InsaneMole says:

          Well I do see some logic behind this: In a scientifically clean test setting you want to eliminate every influence other than the one tested, and being upset about a word may be such an unwanted influence. But when eliminating such influences you should start with really important influences, not with the ones that seem easy to tackle… And thus the last bit of logic disapears..

          Now on to the main reason for my post: I’m from germany. We discuss Hitler and the genocide in the schools again and again because we want our children to know about it, and how it was possible that something like that happened. The most terryfiing part of it is that our grandparents and great-grandparents were normal people, not crazy in any way. (Most of them, and not any more than other normal people that is). And it still happened.
          At the same time the main reason why we can now live free and happy here is the help of america. You not only helped in getting rid of Hitler, you also helped rebuild our country in new and better ways.
          So I beg of you: please do not forget! If too many people forget, it could happen again. Maybe not in america, but somewhere else. What if nobody sees it in time because they all forgot? Today there is nuclear power all over the world, so winning will not be as “easy” as 1945. Please let not the country that saved the world be the stepping stone to its end!

          1. madgater says:

            indeed…..”Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”…..and sadly I am seeing history begin to repeat itself in our once proud nation

      3. Paul Hartzer says:

        I agree. However, I do think it’s useful to have a list of sensitive subjects that test writers are urged to avoid unless it’s necessary to test the topic being tested.

        For instance, I can’t think of many mathematical concepts the understanding of which can’t be tested without using potentially controversial examples. I wouldn’t have everything that NYC has on this list, but I also would be hard-pressed to justify asking a question about cancer on a mathematics test if a question about weather patterns could test the same mathematical understanding.

        Obviously, the English and science tests are going to wander into more controversial areas. Forbidding the test makers from asking questions about macro-evolution on a science test is inane and counterproductive.

        On a side note, I find it intriguing how many people are lamenting the critical reasoning skills of today’s youth while at the same time bemoaning NYC’s attempt to strip these topics from the curriculum which, as you point out, is not NYC’s apparent goal (at this point, at least).

      4. Sarah Marlowe says:

        Here’s a petition that will go to the Mayor and the Chancellor proposing that this ban on these words be removed:

        http://signon.org/sign/chancellor-walcott-remove

        If you believe that this ban on these words in standardized city tests is censorship and educationally harmful, please sign.

        1. Sarah Marlowe says:

          To all that signed this petition, thanks.

          The NYCDOE has revoked the ban on the words that could be used on NYC standardized tests today, 4/3/2012. citing “lack of parental support”.

    4. sandy says:

      give me what he,s smoking and i,ll give him what i,m drinking it,s called reality

    5. JoeFriday says:

      American high school students are at a serious disadvantage when compared to their peers in the other industrialized nations. This is just another example of why.

    6. Yashmak says:

      This whole thing is simply unbelievable. Do these so-called ‘educators’ really believe they’re helping the students by doing things like this? The kids are going to encounter these words in the real world, after all. Perhaps their motivation is more directed by the desire to avoid “outrage” from excessively PC parents.

      Our children aren’t made out of glass and tissue paper. They’re tougher than we believe. They can handle seeing the word evolution, or abuse, or dinosaur on a test without suffering significant trauma. Educators who cannot wrap their minds around that notion need some re-education themselves

      1. steve says:

        “Educators” have nothing to do with it. The people in charge of education aren’t educators, they’re administrators. None of these people have been in a classroom in years. Some of them haven’t been in a classroom since they graduated.

        1. Sue says:

          Agreed! As a retired teacher, NOTHING fired me up more than an administrator dictating what went on in my classroom without any knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices.

    7. Andrew says:

      Unbelievable! Grow up children, fascism is NOT a solution. Yes, banning language in any situation = fascism, plain and simple. If you want to live in a fascist state, I suggest Nazi Germany circa 1936 – 1944.

      1. PHYLLIS LEVY says:

        ABSOLUTELY THIS IS JUST THE START AND IF WE THINK NAZIS GERMANY WAS BAD WAIT BUT WHY SHOULD WE WAIT IT IS TIME TO HAVE THE PEOPLE OF THIS U.S.A. TO DO SOMETHING AND AS WE SAY NEVER AGAIN

        1. Jack says:

          Quit with the CAPS already PHYLLIS. It’s offensive and it hurts my feelings

          1. Jack says:

            Quit with the CAPS already PHYLLIS. It’s offensive and it hurts my feelings. Oops offensive must be a banned word.

    8. Jan Kelley says:

      That just shows the ignorance of those who think they have a right to tell everyone what to do! This is a free country and they should just go jump in the lake!

    9. MaryT says:

      absolutely ridiculous!!!!! what next? we wont be able to wear nice cloths and shoes, speak proper english? Oh lets no forget..the dept of education must also give up the HOLIDAYS that the schools get for Presidents day, Martin Luther King day, Christmas/Holiday break, Memorial day, and Spring break. If you cannot speak the words you should not be allowed to take the days off and celebrate them

      1. RandyK says:

        This sounds like a great way to solve problems.
        I heard of a college department chairman who would have faculty meetings on Saturday morning. He told everyone they could go home once they solved whatever problem they had to work on. These meetings never lasted more than a couple hours.
        Now we could tell everyone – you only get to have the holidays you are willing to talk about and not be offended by.

    10. Lovern says:

      I cannot believe that the educational system in New York is REALLY REALLY REALLY worried so much about these words when all of them are what’s going on in the world today. Did these so called teachers/educators have any of these words in their testing?—well…maybe that’s why they cannot teach the children correctly……COME ON…..why don’t they put their so called “minds” into better use and TEACH THE CHILDREN instead of trying to make MORE LAWS AND RULES.

      1. mbirdlowry says:

        It is the administrators, superintendents and state legislation that dictate what we teach in the classroom. It is so frustrating to be attacked for what we teach when we are bound by standards. The powers that be assume that each child hits developmental milestones at exactly the same time during their schooling and that each child has exactly the same life experiences and capabilities. Combine that with curriculum and texts that are bland and irrelevant and you have our current school system. This is what the public voted for and these are the constraints that bind teachers. You have to be a genius of creativity and spend hours of prep to produce a classroom experience for your students that will help them overcome the tedium of standardized testing and core curriculum requirements.

    11. Mark Wells says:

      Retards

    12. RUSS SOULE says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      THE LIBERALS ARE AT IT AGAIN!

      AND SO ARE THE CONSERVATIVES! THIS LIST HAS A WORD FOR EVERYONE!

      WHAT HOGWASH! OOOOPS! IS THAT A FORBIDDEN WORD, TOO?

    13. Lori says:

      As a public school teacher, I have to say, I had nothing to do with this nonsense.

    14. Zooks says:

      They need to add another phrase to the list of words that are scary…New York Department of Education.

    15. Really? says:

      A dinosaur runs away from a house with a swimming pool at 15mph in order to escape a tsunami. Meanwhile, a Parapsychologist leaves from his mansion with a personal computer at 20mph heading towards the tsunami because of a fortune teller’s ominous prediction. If a nuclear heat-seeking missile, flying at 25mph, is deployed from the location of the tsunami at the same time as the dinosaur and flies back and forth between the dinosaur and the Parapsychologist until they collide, how far will the nuclear heat-seeking missile have traveled?

      1. Dimitri says:

        Excellent exercise, but you forgot to include the distance between the swimming pool and the mansion… I think you should add that a retarded teenage driver going at 35mph (10mph above the limit, of course) can cover the distance from the pool to the mansion in 2 hours while drinking beer all the time.

      2. Theresa says:

        can you repeat the question please..lol
        I was a littte offended about the dinosaur running away..lol

    16. Retired Army says:

      What I want to know is “WHY”: you are allowing this to transpire? I agree with all of the comments; and, this guy should be fired immediately! Why aren’t you at the school’s raising HELL? Why aren’t you flooding the Governor’s office, Mayor’s office, your State and Federal Congressional representatives demanding this radical fools resignation?

      IT IS TIME TO TAKE BACK AMERICA! STOP TALKING AND TAKE ACTION! WE THE PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE CHANGES. DON’T SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL UNTIL THIS FOOL IS REMOVED FROM OFFICE!

      1. Tell it to the DOE says:

        Great point. I started to leave another in this long list of OMGs!, but instead I’ll send register my concern with the NYS DOE: http://schools.nyc.gov/contactdoe/

    17. Anne-Marie O'Brien says:

      This is appalling!! Have these people nothing better to do to justify their salaries?? This is really taking political correctness to ludicrous extremes! Kids are tougher than people think and they will meet toughness in the world outside, so surely school would be the best place to learn about these things? This censorship has very bad connotations …..dictatorships..unable to make up their own minds….being controlled…being told what to think! For heavens’ sake……… get a life!! Maybe more to the point….let the kids get a life!

    18. Chuck says:

      Mark Twain also said, “I have never let schooling interfere with my education.”

    19. Rosie F says:

      All of this type of political correctness and attmepts at avoiding discomfort does not prepare our children for adulthood or the real world. Believe me your boss will never care if birthday makes you uncomfortable especially if it is being mentioned by an important client. Much more important to teach our kids that discomfort occurs and how to deal with it. Also what about the kids who are suffering because they can’t say these things?—the child who making a collection for a poverty stricken area — the child who is participating in a special religous program — the child who just built a model of a mercedes, the child who is getting to celebrate one last birthday with an ill parent etc. This mandate is just nonsense,

    20. Ian MacLeod says:

      This was not initiated by any sort of “educator”. This is someone who was appointed as a sinecure to a post he’s totally unqualified for who is trying to justify his paycheck. I hope. If he were to succeed in packing the students in psychological cotton batting the schools would turn out hothouse children who are totally ignorant of almost all aspects of life! They’d expect to be protected from any sort of harshness or pain, and anything that slid through the system would be traumatic. Schools are there to TEACH. Removing giant chunks of the language in an attempt to protect children from the realities (and fantasies) they describe can only leave children far more vulnerable than they would have been. Children are naturally adaptable – it’s a powerful survival trait – unless someone sabotages it. Removing the words from the language cannot remove the near-certainty that those children will encounter the realities somewhere along the line. What are they to do when they don’t even have a word for what they see?

      This is a pitiful attempt to justify an unqualified having a position he shouldn’t have at best, and a dangerous dose of ignorance for children who need to learn all they can about the life they face in the safer environment of the schools at worst. Anyone dim enough to back this, nevermind come up with it, needs to be doing something else. I’d suggest putting a broom in their hands!

    21. Jocelyn Wills says:

      Thank you, Laurie Lou. I could not have said it better myself.

    22. Jake Svendsen says:

      And these people need to realize that all these subjects are real life issues. Students should be taught these things. Sheltering them will make them awkward and unfit to enter the world as we know it. They should teach more of these things in classrooms instead of chemistry and Algebra.

    23. The problem with Censorship is that once it becomes standard practice, there are no boundaries.

    24. Linda says:

      AMEN!! You are sooo right LaurieLou!

    25. Sarah Marlowe says:

      Laurie- you are so right. What is it that these so called administrators of the NYCDOE are thinking? Or not, as the case appears to be……

    26. Sarah Marlowe says:

      If anyone needs any further proof about how those that run the DOE of NYC are deliberately “dumbing down” the public school system, this is it.

    27. Jane Moor says:

      I don’t know about you but I think this idea of banning words is sounding a lot like George Orwell’s 1984, where everything is controlled by essentially, a fascist government. The only thing is, nobody knows and it doesn’t help that nobody even know what the word fascist is, or what it means.

      I dare say, soon enough the government will have it’s own secret police and two way television sets to keep an eye on the citizens and make sure they are not saying any of the bad words on the “super secret and highly corrosive to the mind, body and spirit, banned words” list

    28. Adie Lipton says:

      The ultimate in progressive liberal stupidity

      1. bluescat48 says:

        That is an oxymoron. Conservatism is stupidity. The idea is to move forward not back to the dark ages, which modern so called conservatives attempt.

    29. marygee says:

      I guess that explains it…..

    30. T says:

      You have said it best! I totally agree

    31. Noah says:

      If peoples time is spent worrying about how they are going to offend someone, whether it is with words or actions, they will get nothing done. It doesn’t really matter what you do or say because one of those will always offend someone else. People get so bent out of shape by words but George RR Martin could not have said it better when he put this in his books, “words are wind.” People should be worried about actual pressing matters.

    32. Noah says:

      I apologize if my comment went only to you. I meant to post it on the site not reply only to you. I agree with your point. and as a current college student I do not think that I was adequately prepared.

    33. Em says:

      The more that you tell people not to say a certain word, the more power that word has over people. If you use these words more often, you take them off of their throne and teach these children that these words are not wrong, they are a part of life. By not saying these words, you are also creating a bubble around children, telling them what is and is not acceptable. What about when they meet others from another country?

  2. A DINOSAUR says:

    First, I’m a high school teacher here in NYC since 1985. As much as I love what I do and working with our students, it is insanity like that that makes me can’t wait for June 2017 to roll around- I’ll be 55 and able to retire from this stupid system.

    I work in a great school with awesome students and some of the best teachers and administrators around. But once you go beyond them, once you go above the Principal, the DOE becomes fantasyland. They have no clue what goes on in schools. The higher you go, the more stupid things get, and this list is just proof of that.

    Even forgetting its utter stupidity and the total impossibility of enforcing it, don’t these people at Tweed have better things to do? Quitting might be one of them. For most of them, (many who have never taught a day in their lives), it would be their greatest gift to education.

    1. LoveTeachers says:

      Couldn’t agree more…from a fellow veteran teacher.

    2. TexAnne says:

      New assignment for kids: How many of the banned words can you use properly while incorporating into an essay?

      1. chris says:

        LOL!!!……Great reply to this stupidity TexAnne, you are so right. I would hate to grade those essay’s. Stuff like this just make the adults of our future even dumber and more ignorant then they already are. They are going to grow up to be just as dumb and stupid as the person/persons whom came up with this idea.

        1. Jay$m00ve says:

          True that. This may be the most worst idea that i ever heard. Whats wrong with the world

        2. Valerie says:

          I hope you never grade anyone’s “essay’s.” Until you learn the difference between plural and possessive.

      2. Gregg says:

        lolololol!!!!!epic!

      3. RandyK says:

        I love it

    3. Gloria Gifford says:

      As a graduate of schools in NYC, I am in shock. You are so right. Every word on this list is in books, literature, newspapers, it is our culture, our world and they are banning these words?????????? Ill.

    4. owilde1 says:

      Perfectly stated.

    5. Michael says:

      For reasons no one seems able to explain, education is the only profession where people with little or no experience in the field are put in charge. Sorry, that seems to be happening in our health care system too.

      Einstein said it best: The only things that are infinite are the universe and human stupidity. And I’m not sure about the universe.

      Current college instructor. Appalled at the ignorance of many of today’s college students. After seeing this, still appalled but not surprised. I have found the source!

    6. Brendan says:

      You are part of the problem. You will accept whatever garbage they place on these students so you can collect your precious pension.

      1. Nicholas Dollak says:

        “Dinosaur” is hardly part of the problem. (S)he recognizes that the problem exists and admits it. If you were in his/her shoes, you’d find there’s little you can actually do without jeopardizing your job. Administrators have revoked teachers’ pensions to pad their own pockets. This should not be legal – but I’ve found that the law is more often on the side of the criminal, not the victim. And the charismatic teacher who bucks the system is a creature that exists only in the movies, or the unemployment line. And while a few insightful students might realize what happened, the students as a whole will not rally to anyone’s defense.

      2. gryall says:

        Easy for you to say. He/she is 5 years from retirement, and you’d have her change careers at this point in her life over a disagreement in philosophy with her employer? Do you really think she doesn’t already do everything in her power to give her students the best education she can despite the hoops her employer presents to her and her students, and that unfortunately, she’s essentially powerless when it comes to rocking the boat in any way?

        That note was evidence enough for me that Dinosaur is a conscientious, responsible teacher. It’s sad that your prejudices against teachers would lead you to conclude otherwise.

      3. Mick says:

        Hey Brendan, you don’t seem to realize what public servants are supposed to do. That is, serve the governments that pay them. If school teachers boldly went it alone they’d promptly find themselves in breach of their contracts.

        As for being part of the problem, he’s one of those teachers out there that is forced to deal with this BS and try to work around it, not you! So until you’ve spent a day in his shoes get back in your box and restrict your pearls of wisdom to topics you actually know something about!

    7. gerry says:

      How many of you teachers voted for Obama? Maybe it is time to vote intelligently for the candidate who promise to ELIMINATE the Dept of Education. It is NOT a Federal Gov issue for education, that is the state and local to control what they want their children to learn. When you vote in a Communist Muslim, you get that ideology and soon the sole dictatorship. Vote in November for Freedom Restored. Clean out all incumbents in DC, and vote for the person who will abolish the DOE.

      1. T. Servo says:

        The NEW YORK CITY Dept of Education created this regulation. In case you are not aware, New York City is a city, not the federal government.

        1. RandyK says:

          apparently gerry did not go to school long enough to understand the difference between city and federal governments.

          I would like to see GOP, santorum, Mitt and Gingrich added to the list because these offend thoughtful people.

      2. BlueCheese says:

        This problem has been here far longer than Obama. Your unfounded and remarks about his choice of religion are just that. This issue has been growing for a long time, as many of the rich players of society of both sides of the government, (key word is rich) don’t want people able to make decisions on their own. The founding blocks of this country were directly related to FREEDOM, not censorship, and dictatorship, which lately, almost every law is setting in place, laws mind you that are passed by either side of the government. The problem isn’t Obama, the problem is people loving money and power more than people.

      3. johnnybfitt says:

        Boy , this comment’s as stupid as the original article ….you’re clueless as to how government really works , it’s a conservative ideology that seeks to deny people the use of words that demonstrate knowledge and creativity and force them to conform but limiting choices of expression ….What should I have expected from someone who would call the LEADER of the free world a Communist Muslim ,

      4. bluescat48 says:

        Communist Muslim? That is an oxymoron.Communists are radical left-wingers, Muslims and the other 2 Abrahamic religious groups, Judaism & Christianity are right-wing.

    8. Sarah Marlowe says:

      I, too, work for the NYCDOE as a teacher.

      Good for you that you work with great administrators. Many of us are not so blessed, and right now, I’m sure that those that follow the NYCDOE “directives” from Tweed are scrambling, right now, to figure out how to implement these “suggestions” without questioning them.

      Sounds like the beginning of the end of a true education in the NYC public schools for countless students. Though I don’t have they years in the system to retire as you will be doing, I’m looking to bail from this stupid system, too.

  3. Sharon says:

    . They should ban reference to money because some people don’t have any. They should ban cars and airplanes because a lot of people can’t afford them. They should ban the words “he” and “she” because some people some consider it sexist.They should ban reference to clothing because nudists may be offended. They should ban books because they offend trees.They should ban computers and electricity because eelectricity is harmful tot the environment. They should ban English because it may offend immigrants.

    1. AreYouKidNMe says:

      Sharon, You are correct; in fact they should ban testing because it offends those who are against grades; and they should ban education because it offends the illiterate; and they should ban tests (hey, I already said that one…The slippery slope just got too slippery….Ban everything. Period. But perhaps,keep the words “ludicrous” and “absurd” on the permissible word list….in addition to “backwards” and “disturbing”
      I

      1. AreYouKidNMe says:

        Cigarettes — the NYC Dept of Health is bombarding the subway andInternet with ads about them causing cancer (another proposed banned word)
        Junk food –I guess that would include “pink slime” also known as “ammonia treated beef” that the DOE refuses to pull from the citywide school lunch menu although McDonald’s (that arbiter of fine cuisine), has already done so…after the whistleblower report
        April Fool’s Day is coming up in about a week…I think that Mr. Walcott and his boss the Honorable Mr. Bloomberg are a week early…surely they can’t be serious…This is starting to make the TSA searches of octogenarian body cavities seem not that “stupid”…I hope I did not offend anyone mentioned in this response…I think that the “Dennis and Mikey Show” will do very well on the air…Look out Leno and Letterman, Dennis and Mikey are a TRUE RIOT (not the police baton kind (no offense to Commissioner Kelly intended)

    2. Andy says:

      a big compliment to Sharon!!! That’s exactly what I think about it…

    3. emberstorm1 says:

      No kidding! Just ban then all an d they will learn nothung. geez They seed to LEARN these words…

    4. emberstorm1 says:

      Just ban it all! Good grief they need to be LEARNING these things. I ho[e those in charge change their minds because it makes NO sensen

    5. emberstorm1 says:

      Just ban it all! Good grief they need to be LEARNING these things. I ho[e those in charge change their minds because it makes NO sense.

    6. mara says:

      I have a friend who has a lot of trouble with math – it would probably be a good idea to ban math so as not to harm her self-esteem.

    7. Timothy says:

      Amen To that and if any of these words are used by the children strict punishment should be put in place. like maybe they should go to work camps and their parents should be put in walled facilities for their rude and unethical behavior. Wow when did I move to North Korea

  4. Bobby V says:

    Dennis Walcott offends me. Therefore, I want him removed

    1. Odysseus says:

      OH YES!

    2. Ivy says:

      HALLELUJAH!!! AMEN!!!

    3. tpp says:

      Exactly my thoughts!

      My oldest is entering the NYC school system, and this is just…weird. Almost makes me want to move to a country where this sort of horse manure is not standard practice.

      1. Teacher says:

        Top-don’t let this sour you on NYC schools. Good teachers, administrators, and schools are good despite the DOE. Caring educators work hard in NYC to give our children the best possible chance at a good education. Have been doing this for 27 years and will continue to do so long after Walcott is gone.

    4. Karimack says:

      Thank you Bobby V. couldn’t have said it better myself.

  5. Doug says:

    Ebonics… coming to a school near you..

    1. jasonaquest says:

      I don’t think you understood this article.

    2. Robert Rocker says:

      WTF? Did you read past the headline? (Did you read the headline?)

  6. A-nony-mouse says:

    Why not ban the dictionary while we’re at it? Certainly wouldn’t want these children to get an education now would we? Welcome to your future politicians and leaders of industry! Oh, wait. We can’t talk about either, can we?

    Thumbs Up! *sarcasm*

    1. Holytape says:

      You better not use pictograms either, because graphic representation of objects offends me.

  7. Sharon says:

    Maybe we should just stop teaching science and current events altogether.
    We wouldn’t want to offend anyone!

  8. miek says:

    I would like to think that some of the educators that developed this list have read Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. There is a real fear in the world of that the censorship of ideas will create a desensitized youth who prey on the weak and old for a form of fun because there is not other creative (or intellectual) alternative in society. However, in a cruel (sorry for the use of a possibly banned word here) twist of irony, many of those same educators have probably never read the novel (Bradbury’s works are constantly censored) or have forgotten the lessons learned in a simple Science Fiction novel written for younger readers. Are we going to start burning books soon? When that starts, are people far behind?

  9. teach says:

    What words are left for the children to learn about in a PC city gone mad? Mr. W. should add the word EDUCATION to his word list because it has already been banned from his list of words that he understands!!! UNBELIEVABLE!

  10. Mer says:

    I don’t see IDIOT on the list. If Walcott thinks these word affect our children, he obviously has not been in a classroom lately. We have BIGGER things to worry about.

  11. PT says:

    How stupid is this!!! What will be next?????

  12. Mikeybklyn says:

    Jimmy and Susie just crapped their pants. I see the logic….

  13. alan says:

    Me thinks one needs just enough education to run the machines and nothing else. This has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my 68 years.

    1. Mikeybklyn says:

      Funny

  14. Shofar says:

    Seinfeld had the “Soup Nazi” and now the DOE has the “Word Nazis”. Enough already with the micromanagement of what is spoken that “might be offensive”. I believe that MOST of the parents of children that HAVE to send them to public schools, are QUITE offended at the “factories” that public schools have become, and the easy and unwilling little audience they have for the propaganda that’s being spewed forth through ALL the grade levels. Maybe it’s time for parents to make the sacrifices necessary to HOME SCHOOL their children and spare them any further indignities that unfortunately come with sending their little darlings to the NWO schools of thought.

    1. Kara says:

      We did!! It was not until I actually TAUGHT in a public school that I gave up all faith in the public school system. It is a sacrifice, but in our minds, completely worth it!

  15. Tony P says:

    They have to be kidding!!!! With everything that happens and is heard on the streets in NY neighborhoods every hour of every day the school hierarchy is concerned that 50 words could traumatizing our kids ——-wake up people this gobbledygook your preaching should be returned to your politically correct play book. Teach our kids, stop playing with their minds !!!!!!

  16. greeneyes says:

    I think that educators need education in language arts. I don’t believe teachers, administrators, and educators are demonstrating another example of in-competencies with education.

  17. Living in a plastic bubble says:

    Ha ha ha… This is a joke right? No one with an I.Q. Of 40 or above could come up with this! I am sure more idiots will jump on the bandwagon.

    1. Shofar says:

      Rest assured the reason behind this is alot larger and more diabolical than you’re able to see at this time…..

  18. Living in a plastic bubble says:

    Ha ha ha… This is a joke right? No one with an I.Q. Of 40 or above could come up with this!

  19. Andy says:

    This is why the schools are so bad here – the DOE is worried about offending someone instead of educating the kids. Looks like this head of the DOE is no better than any of the past ones.
    To the woman who covered the story @6:15, evolution hasn’t been called a “theory” in about 20 years.

    1. Shofar says:

      That may be so….yet in the TRUE Scientific community it is quite clearly understood to be described as “Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution”. It IS a “theory”….that’s what it has ALWAYS been…and THAT is a SCIENTIFIC FACT! Just ask anyone at the Smithsonian who is honest and credible.

      1. William Meikle says:

        Gravity is just a theory too. Care to jump off a building to test it?

      2. Perdurabo0 says:

        The scientific definition of theory is not the same as the common use of the word. A scientific theory is a VERIFIED hypothesis.

        1. Yashmak says:

          Well said. Science, at least, acknowledges that nothing is EVER proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s that very open-endedness that allows for future discovery and any change that discovery might bring.

      3. Paul Hartzer says:

        Actually, there’s really such thing as a “scientific fact” in contrast to a “scientific theory”. Even the theory that the scientific method itself is reliable could be argued to be a theory; if a scientist fully applied the scientific method to data and got contradictory results, one potentiality is that the method itself is flawed in some way.

        All that said, the only reason why those scientists who continue to refer to evolution as a theory and not a fact is because they’re being honest to their own scientific ethics. As others have pointed out, “theory” in terms of science is much closer to what non-scientists call “fact” than to what non-scientists call “theory”. Intelligent Design is not a generally valid “scientific theory” because it has a component that can’t be made subject to the scientific method; evolution, on the other hand, has been made subject to the scientific method, and has generally succeeded (while being tweaked where it’s faced problems).

  20. The Realist says:

    Maybe they should also ban words like STANDARDIZED TEST and HOMEWORK and QUIZ and GRADES and REPORT CARD and TEACHER and SCHOOL. Would that help kids to “feel better”?

    The whole point of school is to prepare children for the REAL WORLD. Why is it now so essential to defeat that purpose by “protecting” children from the REAL WORLD?

    1. cityJ says:

      oh so correct. take all of the reality out of school. real life does not occur within school walls.

    2. Chris Owens says:

      I’m with you, Realist! Let’s identify 50 standardized tests that should be banned … and leave the words alone!

      1. gryall says:

        Good call. The real culprit here is standardized testing. Removing ALL the content from them, for goodness sake, would still leave them as problematic things that should be done away with.

        1. TLM says:

          Standardized tests are only useful if you have standardized students. Has anyone asked if these words were to be removed from standardized MATH tests? If not, how about removing ugly concepts like “plus”, “minus” and “divided by”? Everything could be “equals”!

  21. Natalie says:

    I like how I keep trying to comment and none of my comments have gotten through. ಠ_ಠ

  22. Emma says:

    That headline had me thinking about a whole set of different words than what were on that list. Does context count for nothing?

    I actually can see how a kid can get distracted by some short essays. In particular, kids who have trouble concentrating or those who are embarrassed by the circumstances of their lives. The solution is to teach them coping skills, not to try and sanitize the world. Growing and learning is not guaranteed to be pain free.

  23. Public Education is worthless says:

    How much are we going to dumb down our kids.People need to understand all kids are not on same level playing field some study hard and get great results and most just show up and expect to pass.This is why private schools are far and above any public school.Better off home schooling.

    1. Shofar says:

      I concur about the home schooling, and about the deliberate goal to “dumb-down” our children. There is no REAL effort being made on the part of public schools and the DOE to challenge our children to be THINKERS! The “system” needs and wants FOLLOWERS not thinkers. It needs mindless over exposed, over excess-ed, and severely desensitized individuals making up the population, and they need them at an early age. Worst kind of CHILD ABUSE ever.

  24. Karen says:

    Stop the madness now! These words (and probably many others) were on the standardized tests I took in the early 60s. Who knows, they were probably on the Regents exams too. What’s next – no trips to the natural history museum or they have to cover up the dinosaur exhibit between the hours of 9-5. Don’t even think about putting a cease & desist order on the Hallmark greeting card people. Mr. Walcott, you have a far more intense problem with the number of people hauled off t jail. If you remove them from NYC’s exam how is that “standardized?”

  25. Rich says:

    Are you kidding me????????? So lets just not say a whole slew of words because it may offend someone??????????????????? ABSURD!!!!!!! People (kids included) need to learn what freedom of speech is about, it is about good speech and not so good speech.. Guess what, there are gonna times in your life when you are going to be subject to both. To take out the words reffering to poverty because it may offend someone??? How did anyone who is Rich and didnt start out that way make it?? They made it because they new they were poor and wanted a better life!!!!!!! Halloween reffers to paganism REALLY??? I think kids are more concerned with getting dressed up and trick or treating!!!! This is just unreal. we are raising a whole group of kids to be EXTREMELY SENSITIVE!!!!!!!!!! Other countrires are gonna (if not already) walk all over us!!! Just unreal!!!

  26. all american says:

    Don’t forget HOODIE!

  27. The Good Priest says:

    Loser, Corruption, Fraud, Joke, Pathetic, Bought & Paid-For; are all words that shouldn’t be on the list because they suggest locally elected politicians.

    1. IAmGladIDidNotTeachForDOE says:

      Agreed!!

  28. all american says:

    Stupid
    Dumb
    Idiot
    Absurd
    Twisted
    Deranged
    Delusional
    B. S.

  29. all american says:

    Fire them all.
    This is idiotic.
    This is why budgets won’t stretch. Hundreds of salaries removing words like dinosaurs from school!!! Are you people NUTS! Every museum and university on the planet has dinosaur skeletons out the hoo-ha! They were REAL. They preceded us. We can PROVE it…unlike the bible.

  30. IAmGladIDidNotTeachForDOE says:

    The word “dinosaur” suggests evolution!! LOL!!! Dinosaurs lived on earth for 160 million years! Compared to the 2.5 million years man has been on earth. This is beyond stupid.

  31. Dot CT says:

    It’s Bad enough some school systems are coaching srudents before taking
    “Standardized Tests” now they want to customize the test. Where did the
    “Standard” part of the test go? I’m not a fan of the Standardized Test but if the state requires them at least keep the testing standard & not customized. Such foolishness! To everyone Have A Very Merry UnBirthday or is that too Politically Incorrect? Oh Well!

  32. Jenny says:

    Education is suppose to prepare children for the real world. These words exist, have existed and will continue to exist. Will they remove Dinosaurs from the animal world next? Will children no longer be allowed to study dinosaurs? We are a diverse community. It is important that the children learn as much as they can about our world, each other, and other people. These educators need to stop being so narrow minded!

  33. miss kriss says:

    Can’t we teach acceptance and understanding of all different religions and social practices and without advocating one position over another? This censorship seems a little 1955 to me? How will our children know how to cope in the real world when someone has a different perspective?

    1. Sharron says:

      Thank you Miss Kriss. In my view we are teaching intolerance, lack of acceptance of others . Maybe we’ll have to learn to learn to communicate in some “non’threatening, non-understanding” fashion–may be could just grunt at each other.

  34. Keith says:

    Wow… considering there are about 1,000,000 words in the English language, this seems like a stupid precedent to make. Every single word in the language could be seen as offensive depending on time, place, person, situation and circumstances. I could have just gotten dumped and be upset and then the innocuous word ‘love’ is now offensive to me. These idiots should all be fired – yet they head our education system.

  35. Natalie says:

    UGH! Give me a break! I wish the government would stop trying to tell everyone we’re the same. We’re NOT! We’re ALL DIFFERENT! The more kids are sheltered from things from other cultures, the more ignorant they will become of those other cultures, and when those kids are all grown up, subtle propaganda will create negative connotations with these other cultures. The kids won’t know that what they’re being told is complete bullshit, so they’ll go along with it, and BOOM! Another World War. Lots of lovely profit for the Federal Reserve families.

    Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the Dark Side. What comes before Fear? Ignorance.

  36. Pat says:

    The word Halloween upsets me because I didn’t get enough candy as a child……

  37. dakotahgeo says:

    ROFLMBO!!! This country gets funnier and funnier by the minute! First it is a ban on hugging, now words like lke dinosaur and Halloween! The USA is imploding, bit by bit, every second. We may not even make it to November 6th. LOLOL.

    1. Dumbfounded says:

      And by imploding, we’ll make the Mayan prophesy for 2012 come true.🙂

  38. Jut says:

    The word Dinosaur does not suggest evolution. That’s like saying the word Mammals suggest evolution or the words Avian, Aquatic invertebrates, or cell membrane. Give me a minute and I’ll have another 50 words you can add to that list.

  39. jag says:

    Ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. bobbyshades says:

    Are Walcott and Idiot two of the banned words?

  41. Bobo says:

    These incompetent fools are teaching our kids. But the parents don’t care enough to make a stand.

    1. Karimack says:

      These imcompetent fools, as you so eloquently put it, are NOT the ones in the classrooms.

  42. bobbyshades says:

    Is Idiot one of the banned words?

    1. petmusings says:

      yeah, exactly!! and “hate” and “Love” and “Stupid” and ANY sentence that ends with a ?

      That’s IT!! Now it’s going to be Occupy freaking NYDOE!!!

  43. lisa says:

    The idiocy of this offends me

  44. how about a list of the 50 words says:

    DUH!!!!!

  45. Dan Te says:

    If it offends some people then they should remove it.

  46. alex says:

    This is really sad. The more we try to “shelter” kids from every little thing that could possibly be upsetting or controversial, the less prepared for the real world they’ll be. I have happy childhood memories of learning about dinosaurs and collecting Halloween candy. I feel sorry for kids growing up in our brave new sanitized world.

  47. The Facts says:

    This is a dumb decision by politician/bureaucrats afraid of their own shadows. Disgraceful.

  48. jack says:

    Walcott needs to add one word to his job….”resign”…. obviously an overpaid school positon with way too much time on his hands. Four words come to mind when I listen to people like him….”get a life pal!”

  49. susan says:

    oh my word!! (no pun intended)..children eventually have to grow up and cannot live in a total bubble of protection all their lives..this is the most ridiculous thing i have heard in a while..whats next,, burning books because they are historically correct? why not educate (which is what these people are supposed to be doing)children on life,diversitty,history,and tradtions or days such as halloween ,or more importantly, where and why these things originated..i guess none of these so called “educators” have visited a museum with intact dinosaur bones either….

  50. Ant928 says:

    What do I think? Give me a f*cking BREAK!! It’s a WORD!!! Who care what it’s “connotation” is…we’re just trying to see if the student can identify it!

    Sheesh! And I thought the cast of “Jersey Shore” were stupid…they obviously benefited frmo an NYC education!

    1. boba says:

      no bodily function words? how is a kid taking a test supposed to ask to go to the john? i wouldn’t want to be sitting behind him trying to take a test.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS New York

Komen Race For The Cure
CAMPAIGN 2016

Listen Live