A report came out that the New York City Department of Education wants offensive words deleted from tests because they might make students uncomfortable. Say what? The fear is certain words might cause students to be distracted. Students might actually think about what the words mean, not just how to spell them.
The following is a short list of proposed words these teachers want banished and questions they (the teachers) might find distracting (or offensive):
Dinosaur –Just because a dinosaur existed, does that mean evolution is true? If God made every animal, why are dinosaurs extinct? Are there any other animals besides dinosaurs that are extinct? Why do some animals die off and others survive? Is everything bad that happens on the earth man’s fault? Why is this the prevailing idea today?
Pepperoni – Why is it considered junk food? What is junk food? What should a human eat in order to have well-balanced diet? What is a diet? Why is Mommy always on one? Does everyone in the world eat a well-balanced diet? How might we help nations who don’t have enough food?
Birthday – Why do the Jehovah’s Witnesses not celebrate birthdays? Are there other religions that don’t celebrate holidays? What holidays do we as Christians celebrate and why? What are some other interesting customs around birthdays?
Dancing – How many styles of dancing can you list? Can you dance? Why not? Why do women who love to dance always marry men who don’t? Is that a myth or is that true? What is hyperbole? Is there any place in the Bible where dancing is part of a celebration? What is the Inaugural Ball? Why might some people believe dancing is bad? Is all dancing good?
Divorce – What does divorce mean? Why does God say He hates divorce? Have you been impacted by divorce? Is divorce always bad? What changes has divorce brought into your life? What would you like to say to your parents if you were allowed to talk about your emotions?
Slavery – What is slavery? When was it practiced in America? How was it ended? Is it still practiced anywhere in the world? What does “human trafficking” mean? Does this only happen in other countries?
Some educators want children to complete exams “without distraction”. I think “without distraction” means “We want students to know how to spell – not think.”
I hope my children will teach my grandchildren to spell the above words – and talk about what the words mean. Critical thinking skills don’t seem to be high on the Department of Education list these days. God knows we need them in this world we live in. Yes — people need to learn how to spell, but even more important, we need to teach our children to examine the meaning of words, the shifting definitions, the subtle ways words can used to twist truth and promote lies. Let them ask questions, lots of questions. The more uncomfortable the word, the more important it is to talk about it.
Knowledge is always easier to learn than wisdom.