- The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss posted a blog drawing attention to a strange list of topics "avoided" on the California High School Exit Examination.
- Among the topics avoided due to their “potentially biased, sensitive, or controversial” nature are spiders, rodents, slavery, dieting, evolution, dinosaurs, rap music and rock concerts, complex sports discussions, junk food, religion, divorce, and socio-economic advantages.
- The California Department of Education notes below the list that some topics may, in fact, be mentioned in a text, but an entire passage on the exam won't focus on them.
While there's probably an argument to avoid some of these topics, like sex or people associated with drug use, on a high school exit exam, several of them are downright ridiculous. One would assume that by the time they reach their senior year of high school, students have been exposed to topics like war, natural disasters, dinosaurs, spiders, etc.
Things covered in a standard history or science class should not be all that controversial, but that opens a whole other line of questioning entirely: What happens when these topics come up not on the exam, but in class? If slavery, war, famine, and disease are too controversial for high school seniors, how are we supposed to bring forth a generation capable of not just outpacing international competition, but of rising above and moving beyond those very topics?