Levittown blasts 'shantytown' reference

June 17, 2008 4:56:29 PM PDT
The Long Island town that's often called America's first suburb is blasting New York state over a social studies test that includes Levittown in the same category as shantytowns.The question, on the state's eighth-grade social studies test, shows a photo of shacks labeled "A Shantytown during the Depression." Students were asked whether such areas were known as tenements, ghettos, Levittowns or Hoovervilles. (The correct answer is Hoovervilles.) In a letter to the state, the Levittown schools superintendent calls the reference "derogatory, totally unnecessary and inaccurate."

A state education spokesman says the department regrets any misunderstanding. Says Tom Dunn: "We meant no disrespect for Levittown or those who live there."

The test was administered two weeks ago to 200,000 students statewide.