When CNN reported last week on the fifty words that the New York City Department of Education seeks to ban from its standardized tests, the list was discovered to include “dinosaur” and “evolution.”
Fundamentalist Christian, Orthodox Jewish, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, and Muslim children—did I leave anyone out?—are surmised by the NYC educationists to be too delicate for exposure to such words in a test situation; they might distract concentration.
At least that’s the theory.
But Brian Vitagliano, the reporter for the CNN story, after dutifully quoting the justifiers of the policy proposal, sought out a contrarian to also quote for his article, and found a really good one—Stanford University Professor, Sam Wineburg:
When reached by phone said Wineburg, after a brief pause on the line, “the purpose of education is to create unpleasant experiences in us. … The Latin meaning of education is ‘to go out.’ Education is not about making us feel warm and fuzzy inside.”
Wineburg questioned the idea that the New York City Department of Education would want to “shield kids from these types of encounters.” He said the goal of education is to “prepare them,” adding “this is how we dumb down public schools.”
Wineburg’s retort is a keeper, isn’t it?