When Dinosaurs Roamed the Schools

Sticks and stones break bones, but words hurt more subtly. Old-school advice was that, growing up, one had to grin and bear it, let a few of our psychological wounds scab over, and get on with life.

But that is not “new school” wisdom. Nowadays, moved by a perhaps overweening sense of kindness (or politicized fear) educators tend to prohibit certain words, the better to protect some folks from taking offense.

The New York Post reports that, in a “bizarre case of political correctness run wild,” the people in charge of public schools have

banned references to “dinosaurs,” “birthdays,” “Halloween” and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests.

That’s because they fear such topics “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”

Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism.

Even “dancing’’ is taboo, because some sects object. But the city did make an exception for ballet.

The “educrats” say such exclusions are nothing new, and I believe them. They’re inevitable when you have a government-run school system that “services” a wide diversity of “clients.” The only real solution is to stop having the government run the schools. If you must support education with tax money, give vouchers to poor people. That would let a diversity of tutors and schools compete for parents’ and students’ attention . . . perhaps sometimes by catering to fears of dinosaurs, Halloween and dancing.

Odd, though, in one sense: If you really want not to “evoke unpleasant emotions in the students,” you could stop making them take tests. For most kids, tests are the most unsettling, truly horrifying aspect of schooling.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

13 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mar
    29
    10:36
    AM
    John F. Brennan

    Marx, Hitler, Stalin and all present leaders of their ilk fully understand to control the population, for the “revolution” to be successful, it is necessary to take over, and control, the educational system.
    No religions or moral traditions EXCEPT those of secular humanism, environmentalism, the new morality and religion, are allowed. From your article it would appear the prior “cleansing” is now approaching full sterilization.
    Your solution is correct, vouchers and parental choice (and therefore responsibility) for their children’s education, if education of going to be subsidized with taxes.

  2. Mar
    29
    10:39
    AM
    Richard Rider

    Paul, may I suggest you post a boilerplate comment on your website (with each article) giving folks permission to republish your gems — with attribution, of course.

    I want to put this piece out! And I always include a URL.

  3. Mar
    29
    1:09
    PM
    Paul Jacob

    Richard — Great idea! We also allow reprinting provided there is a URL and proper attribution. Thanks.

  4. Mar
    29
    1:10
    PM
    Paul Jacob

    I meant to say we “ALWAYS ALLOW” — not “also allow.”

  5. Mar
    29
    2:28
    PM
    Kenneth H. Fleischer

    First, the comment about “[t]he only real solution” is entirely correct. I cannot think of a worse organization to run schools than the government, which is the only organization with the power to compel attendance. Any other outfit would have to attract attendees, who probably would become better (true) students. After all, the definition of “student” is not “one who attends school,” but “one who studies.”

    Second, there was a reference to “over-weaning,” an odd term, in that it means “excessive reduction or elimination of the practice of nursing at a breast or bottle.” The right word would have been “overweening,” which means “arrogant.”

  6. Mar
    29
    4:26
    PM
    Drik

    So the other appropriate term would have been “under-weaning” in that the schools are fostering a LACK of intellectual independance and continued purported need for the proection of the students from ideas that threaten their fantasies.

  7. Mar
    29
    5:29
    PM
    Lyle R. Rolfe

    Hi Paul, This is pure unadulterated BS. How about the 95 percent that do celebrate or believe in these things? I’m fortunate that I was raised during an era when we did not have to put up with this crap and I raised my kids the same way. These bureaucrats have nothing else to do to earn their keep, so they come up with this crap. I’d rather pay them to play on the computer all day. We know we’ll never get rid of them because they vote for the right people. Yes, Govt. needs to be out of education at the fed and state level and sometimes even at the local level. If I were raising kids today, I’d home school them.

  8. Mar
    29
    5:38
    PM
    Paul Jacob

    Kenneth, Drik — Oops! Nice catch. And until this mistake, I was sooooo close to being perfect.

  9. Mar
    29
    5:45
    PM
    Paul Jacob

    Lyle — I am raising kids today (two down and one to go) and I’m home-schooling. Unless there is choice, where the government isn’t a monopoly dictator, the 95% won’t get the education they want or any sort of decent education. But here’s the even worse truth: neither will the other 5%. Only the teachers’ unions seem to be making out just dandy.

  10. Mar
    29
    6:40
    PM
    Pat

    Amazing.
    A reference to dinosaurs calls to mind evolution?
    Extinction maybe, but not necessarily evolution.
    Birthdays? Are fundamentalists upset at the notion of a ‘birth certificate’? That must mean the word ‘birth’ is also bad.
    Catholic schools offered a wonderful education. They even taught evolution.

  11. Mar
    31
    2:21
    PM
    MoreFreedom

    “If you really want not to ‘evoke unpleasant emotions in the students…'”

    How about not incarcerating our kids in government school jails during the day without forcing parents to pay twice (first via taxes to the coercive sector of the economy to incarcerate their children, and second to get the out of government school jail when they pay for an education in the voluntary sector of the economy)?

    I do thank Mr. Jacob for pointing out that the only real solution is for government to not run schools.

  12. Apr
    1
    3:25
    PM
    Danny Haszard

    Jehovah’s Witnesses reject Birthdays all holidays,Thanksgiving even benign Mother’s day.
    The Watchtower leaders want to be ‘different’ for the sake of being different.Jehovah’s Witnesses are a dysfunctional group from the get-go .
    Christmas-Jesus was not born on exactly Dec 25th,but he also did not have his *invisible* second coming in the month of October 1914,a falsehood that is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.

    *tell the truth don’t be afraid*–Danny Haszard

  13. Feb
    17
    12:28
    AM
    aislinn

    i must thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this blog. excellent blog post .

    http://www.n8fan.net

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