I saw this flash by on Twitter, and decided to take a look for myself.
— April Thompson (@oddlysaid) August 11, 2014
So I went to Dictionary.com and looked up “homeschool” in the search window.
And if you look over on the right, it’s not an exact match for the tweet above. But two of the sentences she noticed showed up for me too — the two worst ones.
The middle two examples are strongly editorial, and critical of homeschooling.
That got me to wondering — is this typical? Does Dictionary.com often include an editorial point of view in its examples?
So I looked up Barack Obama.
The output delivers nothing editorial, pro or con.
How about something less personal, but possibly political, like “church”?
The output delivers a couple of questionable examples.
A sentence about “narrowness,” and a sentence about a scandal.
How about “Christian”?
Muslims don’t come out unscathed.
Most would be offended by being compared to Woody Allen.
Overall, though, an inconclusive result. So I emailed Dictionary.com and asked them about the offending sentences in the “homeschool” definition.
Here’s the reply I received.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We value the homeschooling community and education in all forms. These example sentences have been removed because they do not meet our editorial standards. Our 1,605,969 example sentences have been pulled programmatically from reputable publications online over the course of the last ten years, and our lexicographers are constantly reviewing them to ensure that our site is a reference source of the highest quality. As a small team, we appreciate you bringing this issue to our attention so that we could quickly fix this situation.
Would you be able to share with us where you first discovered this issue? We would like to inform them of this change also.